Port Taranaki has released its financial result for the year ending 30 June 2019, with revenue up 3.5% on the previous year to $47.2 million, but net profit after tax down 9% to $7.5 million.
This was largely due to a 15.4% increase in operating expenses to $26.6 million, as Port Taranaki invests in a programme of work to repurpose buildings and clear land for future development.
“The 2018-19 year has been one of change and some challenge for our business – a watershed moment where we have made operating expenditure decisions to repurpose buildings and land which, while impacting our short-term profitability, are setting us up to be adaptable, flexible and better positioned for the future,” Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said.
“The Government has signalled that the future is one of a low-emissions economy. And while we believe gas remains the key transition fuel, the changes we are making will enable us to act decisively and quickly to provide services and support for possible future alternative energy solutions.
“We believe this is money well spent to support our customers, our future and, ultimately, our community.”
Outages and maintenance shutdowns in the oil and gas industry also impacted profits, as bulk liquids volumes dropped 5.9% on the previous year to 3.41 million tonnes. Bulk dry tonnage was also lower, down 10.4% to 710,000 tonnes because of good on-farm growing conditions, in contrast to the previous year when more on-farm feed was needed due to the hot, dry summer.
Consequently, total trade volume was down 2% to 5.04 million tonnes.
While bulk liquids throughput was down, Port Taranaki’s offshore work jumped 60% as it was heavily involved in supporting the maintenance campaign at the Pohokura platform.
“With OMV’s investment in the Pohokura field to improve production and its plans to re-energise the supply from Māui, Tamarind Taranaki also beginning exploration work on its Tui field, and Methanex back to full production, we expect our bulk liquids volumes to improve in the coming year and our offshore support work to increase further,” Mr Roper said.
It was another record year of growth for Port Taranaki’s log trade, with 878,000 JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) crossing the wharves. This was a 26.9% increase on the previous year’s tonnage of 692,000 JAS. In the final week of the financial year – the last week of June – the port recorded its largest ever week on record, with more than 24,600 JAS moving through the port.
“It was another pleasing year for our log business and we continue to adapt our port to allow for more berth-side space for storage and ship-loading,” Mr Roper said.
“Since July, the forestry sector has faced difficulty due to a series of trading events occurring in China. Trade, in a low interest and challenging geopolitical climate, can face disruption and, whilst the new season highlights this with the log trade, we remain optimistic for this sector in the coming year.”
The port is owned by the Taranaki community through sole shareholder the Taranaki Regional Council and, for the year 2018-19, a fully imputed dividend of $5.46m has been paid and a further final dividend of $3.5m has been approved.
“Port Taranaki continues to demonstrate its immense value to the community – as a vital strategic asset, as an employer, as a business enabler and as a company that gives back to the community through dividends, sponsorships and support of events and community groups,” Port Taranaki chairman Peter Dryden said.
He said the outlook for Port Taranaki in the next year was positive, with a lift in bulk liquids volumes expected, the slowdown in log trade and drop in prices forecast to be short-term, and much of the port’s programme to repurpose assets now complete.
“We look to the new financial year with optimism. We’re proud of the multi-faceted, nimble company Port Taranaki has become, its high health and safety standards and its high-quality assets, the dedicated staff and customers, and the way it continues to evolve and adapt,” Mr Dryden said.
He said Port Taranaki would continue to work with central Government as it attempts to lead a wide-ranging Just Transition.
“By being involved we have sought to protect our substantial investment to ensure it is best utilised to benefit the people of Taranaki and our broader customer base in the long term.
“We have also played a leading role in discussion and recommendations through the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap process, and will continue to do so as the roadmap is implemented,” Mr Dryden said.
Operating highlights for the 2018-19 year
- New tug Kīnaki and launch Rawinia supported the maintenance campaign at the Pohokura platform. Kīnaki demonstrated her extra power and agility in supporting the float-off of the COSL jack-up rig in Admiralty Bay and its move up the coast to the Pohokura platform where both Kīnaki and Rawinia were involved in the rig’s positioning and preparation.
- Port Taranaki carried out a programme of scheduled biennial maintenance dredging, the first using the new more efficient and effective trailing suction hopper dredge Albatros.
- Port Taranaki invested in a new marine and operational planning system – Marine Enterprise Suite – that more smoothly and efficiently coordinates the activity on the port’s berths.
- The cold store on the Blyde Terminal was removed and repaving the area commenced to provide additional log storage and log-loading adjacent to the berths.
- Stronger bollards were installed on Blyde Wharf as part of an ongoing port-wide replacement programme. This enables two log vessels to berth and load simultaneously, adding flexibility and improved efficiency for exporters.
- The Craig Norgate Store was repurposed to support a customer’s demands for greater animal feed storage and processing space on-site.
- Several old and unused buildings on-site were removed for future land development.