Port of Tauranga reports improved profits
The Port of Tauranga is reporting improved profits, despite widespread disruption to cargo volumes.
Profitability increased for the first six months of the 2021 financial year - Group Net Profit After Tax for the six months to December 2020 was $49.4 million, a 2.3 per cent increase on the same period the previous year.
This is despite a 1.3 per cent decrease in total trade volumes, to 13.1 million tonnes, reports the Port.
Container numbers decreased 4.6 per cent, compared with the previous corresponding period, to 612,988 TEUs1. (TEUs = twenty foot equivalent units, a standard measure of shipping containers).
Port of Tauranga Limited chair David Pilkington says the mid-year financial results are very pleasing, considering the volatility in cargo volumes over the period and reflected the stability offered by the diverse companies in the group.
“We have managed to maintain income throughout a challenging six months.
“Port of Tauranga handled near record volumes of containers in the months of October and December.
“However, lower-than previous demand from June to August, and vessel delays in November, dragged down the year-to-date container volumes.
“It’s a similar story when we look at overall cargo tonnes. Volumes decreased 1.3 per cent for the six month period, yet volumes in December 2020 were 15.1 per cent higher than the same month in 2019.”
David says severe vessel delays out of Auckland since September had significant flow-on impacts on Port of Tauranga.
“We have done our best to accommodate diverted import and export cargoes from Auckland. However, we have had to limit our assistance as we have been constrained by the lack of availability of additional rolling stock and train drivers for the rail link between Tauranga and Auckland.”
The average cargo exchange per container vessel was 21 per cent higher in December 2020 compared with December 2019, due to the cargo bypassing Auckland.
Late arriving vessels have been slow to pick up exports, exacerbating container yard congestion.
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns says the January 1 introduction of penalties for shippers rolling cargo or leaving their containers on the wharf for excessive time, has provided some relief from yard congestion.
The peak export season is now in full swing.
“We need all parts of the supply chain to do their bit and we are very grateful for the cooperation of importers and exporters in improving terminal productivity,” says Mark.
“Unfortunately, the threat of congestion remains and is unlikely to dissipate until Ports of Auckland sorts out its operational problems.
“We accommodated a container vessel at our Mount Maunganui bulk cargo wharves in December to try and alleviate the pre-Christmas stress for retailers.
“New Zealand’s ability to absorb the worldwide disruption caused by Covid-19 has been severely constrained.”
Port of Tauranga has applied for the Covid-19 recovery fast-track resource consenting process for its proposed berth extension at the Tauranga Container Terminal.
The fourth berth will be created by converting 220 metres of cargo storage land to the south of the existing wharves.
The $68.5 million project will create an estimated 368 jobs through the construction phase and more than 81 permanent jobs after completion.
No Government funding is sought for the project and it is frustrating that the consent process takes so long.
Mark says the project could help ease congestion in the Upper North Island supply chain, especially with the prospect of the Ruakura Super-hub and inland port at Hamilton coming on stream.
The inland port, being developed in partnership by Port of Tauranga and Tainui Group Holdings, is due to open in 2022.