Port Taranaki’s position as an important trade port that adapts to the needs of customers and the Taranaki community has been highlighted by a strong result for the first six months of the 2017-18 financial year.
For the half-year to 31 December 2017, total trade through the port was 2.85 million tonnes, up 6% on the same period last year. This lift was primarily in the dry bulk and log sectors – dry bulk was up 144,000 tonnes (53%) and log trade was up 131,000 tonnes (63%).
As a result of the increased trade, there was a 19% increase in vessel visits to the port compared with the same period the previous year. These results contributed to a 14% rise in total revenue to $24.3m, and an unaudited after-tax profit of $6.1m – a 34% increase on the same period last year.
“This summer, as well as being hot, it has been very dry,” Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said. “Farmers in Taranaki and surrounding regions have needed greater amounts of feed to support their stock, which has resulted in a rise in stock feed volume coming through the port.
“The rural sector is incredibly important to the economic wellbeing of Taranaki and we are supporting their needs further by developing more storage space on-site.”
Following on from another record year of log volumes through Port Taranaki, Mr Roper said the log sector continued to grow and develop as favourable market conditions and overseas demand for New Zealand wood remained strong.
“We expect this demand to continue and are stacking logs higher and developing more storage space to accommodate this growth,” he said.
There was a small decrease in bulk liquid trade on the corresponding six months – down 99,000 tonnes (5%) following lower petrochemical production levels in the first quarter. Trade volumes will be lower in the second half with petrochemical customers having planned outages during the period.
A dividend of $2.73m was paid to Port Taranaki’s sole shareholder, the Taranaki Regional Council, in September. A second interim dividend for the 2018 financial year of $2.73 million has been approved and will be paid before the end of February. This is a 10% increase on the dividend paid in February 2017. Dividends paid to the TRC substantially offset regional rates paid by the community.
Port Taranaki continues to make significant investments and changes to its business to grow trade, adapt to changes in the industry, meet the needs of customers, ensure sustainability, and support the Taranaki community. These include:
- In November 2017, fuel began to flow to and from Port Taranaki’s refurbished Centennial Drive tank farm for lessee BP New Zealand. Diesel is on-stream, with petrol expected to follow by mid-2018.
- The construction of Kīnaki, the port’s new in-harbour tug, was completed in Turkey at the end of December. Port Taranaki took ownership of the tug in January and it is expected to be in operation at Port Taranaki in the second quarter of 2018.
- The third phase of a four-year maintenance programme to extend the life of the wharves began during the period.
- Port Taranaki completed its move out of the container business when closing its container transfer site. This followed a strategic review of the container sector and New Zealand supply chain by the Port Taranaki board.
“Our investment programme is based on our determination to provide service excellence and maximise the utilisation of our assets,” Mr Roper said. “We are constantly looking at ways we can adapt our business to meet the needs of our customers and the Taranaki community.”
Port Taranaki chairman Peter Dryden said, like the rural sector, the port’s business was often tied to the weather and recent events had contributed to increased costs.
“This has been primarily driven by increased insurance costs as a result of the recent Kaikoura earthquake damage to other ports,” he said. “The storms in January and February, which damaged the Lee Breakwater and carpark area, resulted in increased maintenance activity as they were quickly repaired so the area could be reopened to the public,” he said. “This will add to our costs in the second half of the year.”
Mr Dryden said the longer term outlook for Port Taranaki’s trade was one of more challenging conditions, with commodity prices and the weather influencing the port’s activity.
“There is, however, a positive outlook for a pick-up in oil and gas exploration activity in the next financial year, with a number of companies in the advanced stages of planning, although having made no firm commitments,” he said.
For further information contact:
Rochelle West and Warrick Quinn
Phone: 06 753 7354 or 021 102 8860