Agunsa's proposed pier, designed in conjunction with the Dutch engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV, would be able to handle a pair of 300-meter ships simultaneously, with the possibility to expand for bigger vessels in future.
The proposal addresses not only the loss of cruise business but confirms Agunsa's commitment to Valparaíso and the development and progress it envisions for the community, according to Juan Esteban Bilbao, general manager of the Valparaíso Passenger Terminal. He cited the experience and benefits the agency has realized in other places, for example, Manta, Ecuador.
The initiative, an investment of up to US$30m, involves an area of approximately 2,300 square meters on the land side, where offices for the pier's operations and cargo could be consolidated, along with parking for ship suppliers. An access bridge, consisting of a concrete platform 200 meters long and 10 meters wide, would connect the berthing platform to the land.
The reinforced concrete berthing platform, 203 meters long and 30 meters wide, mounted on piles, would serve two ships of 300 meters, the size of most cruise vessels currently calling in Chile. (Norwegian Sun, for example, is 260 meters, and Star Princess is 290 meters.) The pier could be expanded to handle larger ships down the line.
The facility also could incorporate the latest ShoreTension dynamic mooring system to reduce the impact of environmental conditions for safer berthing.
Bilbao noted another plus of the pier is its location near the passenger terminal, which reduces transfer time to and from the docking site and facilitates safe boarding and disembarkation for passengers and crew.
In addition, Agunsa's proposal envisions a public space that would showcase local gastronomy and handicrafts. This would be mobile and adaptable to the season and the functional nature of the terminal.
The Port Company of Valparaíso (EPV) now has 90 days to review this proposed change to the master plan. If EPV makes the decision to go ahead, it will prepare a tender to solicit bids, a process that could take six months and involve the Free Competition Tribunal and, ideally, securing environmental permits.
Construction time is estimated at 14 to 18 months, so the cruise pier could be operational in approximately 2.5 years.