It will be another consistent year for the Port of Los Angeles in 2017, with around 120 calls and 600,000 passengers.
“We feel the Mexican market has stabilized and is turning the corner to be a better destination,” said Chris Chase, marketing manager. While Princess offers mainly Mexican Riviera sailings as the port’s biggest customer, Chase said there was a growing trend for wine cruises that go up the West Coast and also hit Ensenada, where there are a number of wineries.
The strong Alaska market should also play into the port’s cruise profile.
“As long as Alaska remains strong it’s a good justification to have ships on the West Coast,” said Chase. “As Mexico evolves and improves and the troubles of the past are forgotten, that will solidify as a growth location.”
Among his projects is to bring in a summer cruise customer, and the port recently launched a new tariff program that extends through 2023.
“Our ideal next step is to get year-round business back,” Chase added. The tariff program includes incentives for volume and summer calls, according to Chase, and was made with input from various cruise lines. The long range plan provides a level of transparency.
By 2018 the port will have an upgraded shorepower system that will be able to meet demands from bigger ships. With two terminals, a third ship can be accommodated on a nearby pier. There are plans ready to go should the port land another big cruise customer.
“If a business case ever comes around we do have areas earmarked for cruise expansion,” said Chase. “The piers are there, we can add a ship with minimal impact, with mostly landside development for a building and gangways.”
The port has been busy branding the L.A. waterfront as a destination, and a new developer is in play for a redevelopment of the area, which includes museums and the USS Iowa battleship.
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