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At Cruise Shipping Miami, representatives from ProChile emphasized that the recent earthquakes did not affect any of Chile’s cruise ports. The only damaged facility connected with cruising was the airport and, since the travel season in Chile ended in April and starts again in November, air traffic will be restored in full long before cruising could be affected, according to ProChile.
Cruising is very important to Chile, where the Ministry of Public Works has announced a $400 million investment in passenger and cargo port infrastructure from 2010 through 2013. This figure is in addition to private investments in infrastructure and equipment made by several ports in 2008 that totaled $340 million.
Some of the projects included in the new investment plan are the expansion of the Port of Valparaiso, the development of a new pier at Port Williams, expansion of the Port of Punta Arenas and enhancement of passenger facilities at the Castro Port in Chiloe Island.
“Chile has great opportunities for the development of tourism, especially in the cruise industry,” said Teodoro Wigodoski, president of the Southern Cone Port Corporation, which represents the chief ports of Chile. “It is required to continue investing in some port facilities, so cruise ships can dock directly at the port, eliminating the need to use tenders.”
The expansion of Valparaiso’s cruise terminal, the country’s main cruise port, which is located less than 90 minutes away from Santiago, should be completed for the 2013 cruise season; other aspects will allow cruise ships to be able to dock alongside at Punta Arenas and Port Williams, where tendering is currently required.