Saturday, April 20, 2024

Port of Tauranga profits tick higher

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Tentative return to normality in first half disrupted by North Island’s weather extremes.
Port sector sources have speculated that DP World had registered an entity in NZ to pursue opportunities in Auckland and potentially also Lyttelton.
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A “year of two halves” for Port of Tauranga delivered a 5.2% improvement in net profit after tax to $117.1 million for the year to June 30.

Overall cargo volumes at New Zealand’s largest export port decreased 3.6% to 24.7 million tonnes. Container volumes were also down 5.1%, at 1.18 million twenty-foot-equivalent units. 

Revenue was $420.9m, compared with $375.3m the previous year, and the group declared a final dividend of 8.8 cents per share, taking the total dividend to 15.6c per share, up on last year’s 14.7c.

Chair Julia Hoare said results were bolstered during the first half by increased container transhipments and the return of summer cruise ship visits. Overall, ship visits increased by 4.6% to 1,432 during the year.

However, the second six months saw the impacts of the North Island’s weather events, which disrupted transport networks and cargo volumes. 

Cyclone Gabrielle also caused significant damage across the forestry sector, which resulted in the early harvesting of some cyclone-damaged trees. 

Log export volumes increase 2.6% to 6.2 million tonnes, while dairy product exports increased 2.7% and meat exports increased 3% in volume. 

Kiwifruit volumes were impacted by weather and fruit quality issues, with volumes decreasing 20.3% compared with the previous year, while oil product imports increased 1.7%.

Chief executive Leonard Sampson said the port’s diversity of cargoes and long-term freight agreements with key customers such as Kotahi had once again helped the company to remain resilient in the challenging economic conditions.

He said while the port was experiencing both a reduction in imported volumes and a slower global economy, key export commodity volumes remained strong over the past 12 months, with the slowdown in import container volumes providing some breathing space after an “erratic couple of years”.

Sampson said the port has taken delivery of a new pilot launch, the Troy Evans, and has four new hybrid straddle carriers slated for delivery late in 2023. 

The group is still awaiting resource consent following its environment court application in March to construct its new 385m vessel berth at the container terminal. 

Sampson said the application process had proven complex, time-consuming and expensive despite the proposed development being within the current operational port footprint.

Sampson said the port is looking forward to the return of productivity and capacity maximisation now that shipping schedule reliability is more consistent.

He said while the economic downturn and geopolitical issues will likely continue to impact the global supply chain, the port is “well positioned” to endure these challenges with the support of customers and partners and a strong and diverse range of cargoes.

Meanwhile, the operator of port facilities at Whangārei, Marsden Maritime Holdings, reported a fall in net profit after tax (NPAT) for the year to June 30, from $9.1m in the previous year to $8.2m in the year under review, in line with guidance and on record revenues of $19.4m, up 13.1% on the previous year.

The port, which is owned 19.9% by Port of Auckland and operates a joint venture cargo terminal at Marsden Pt with Port of Tauranga, was also hard-hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Log exports and container volumes both took a 12% hit. 

The board announced a fully imputed 7.5 cents per share (cps) dividend, taking total distributions for the year to 13.5cps, 2.5cps down on the previous year.

Chief executive Rosie Mercer said the port had done a “deep dive” during the year on its asset maintenance and management “to get into a more sustainable expenditure pattern”, while chair Murray Jagger stressed the port’s leadership role in “influencing the development and delivery of strategic road and rail infrastructure assets for the region”.

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