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Gov’t closes contract with San Juan Cruise Port for San Juan Bay piers

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority and San Juan Cruise Port have finalized the financial aspects of the San Juan Bay cruise terminal public-private partnership (P3) project, announced Fermín Fontanés, executive director of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3A).

San Juan Cruise Port is now tasked with managing the P3 project, which includes the repair, design, construction, financing, maintenance and operation of piers 1, 3, 4, 11-13, and Pan American I and II. The 30-year agreement involves a private investment of more than $400 million to enhance and modernize the facilities, as reported by News is my Business.

Fontanés emphasized the priority of fulfilling the conditions precedent phase by the Ports Authority and San Juan Cruise Port. 

“This P3 is a way to meet the port infrastructure needs in the hands of the largest independent port operator in the world … to achieve the goal of increasing the arrival of cruise ships to the island and to continue promoting the development of the tourism sector and the local economy,” he stated.

The selection of San Juan Cruise Port as the project operator was made in August 2022 to address the longstanding deterioration of the cruise ship terminals, optimize their structural integrity and modernize them to accommodate the modern cruise industry, thereby improving Puerto Rico’s port accessibility and reinforcing its status as a leading maritime tourist destination in the Caribbean, the government stated.

Joel Pizá, executive director of the Ports Authority, said: “It’s a day of great optimism and great expectations for us at the Ports Authority, since the projects that will get underway after the signing of this partnership contract will result in improvements to the infrastructure, adequate maintenance and the construction of new cruise terminals, bringing our San Juan Bay ports in optimal conditions.

“On the other hand, with this agreement, we will also achieve stability and continuity in management, as well as balance in the contracts with the cruise lines that visit us. The Ports Authority team will remain alert and diligent in the monitoring of said partnership to ensure that all agreements are executed effectively and for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans and visitors to the island.”

San Juan Cruise Port is a subsidiary of Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH), the world’s largest cruise port operator, employs a skilled local team supported by GPH’s global network.

Established in 2004, GPH operates 30 ports in 17 countries, serving more than 20 million cruise passengers annually. It operates cruise terminals in various locations, including the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, the Adriatic, the Eastern Mediterranean and Singapore.

“We’re ready to go. In the past few months, even as we waited for the financial closing, we have already established our command center in Old San Juan and begun to hire personnel to staff our operations, 90% of whom are Puerto Rican,” said Federico González Denton, general manager of San Juan Cruise Port.

“In fact, we have been fortunate enough to bring on board some of the top personnel from the Ports Authority Maritime Bureau that used to manage the cruise ports. This will allow for the smoothest transition possible as we start to manage the ports,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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