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American Shipper

Eurogate earnings up 4% in 2006

Eurogate earnings up 4% in 2006

European container terminal operator Eurogate saw its pre-tax earnings increase 4 percent in 2006 to 84.7 million euros ($115.1 million), up from 81.5 million euros in 2005.

      Eurogate’s revenue for the year increased 7.1 percent to 560 million euros ($761.2 million) as its total container volumes improved by 4 percent to 12.5 million TEUs.

   The company said the takeover of P&O Nedlloyd by A.P. Moller-Maersk and the accompanying structural changes in container shipping services led to shifts in container volumes between individual terminal facilities. The container terminals in Bremerhaven recorded 18.7 percent volume growth to 4.4 million TEUs. But in Hamburg, where the New World Alliance consortium moved from Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg to the HHLA Terminal Altenwerder, the handling volumes stagnated at the previous year’s level of 2.5 million TEUs.

   The Italian Contship Italia Group, in which Eurogate has a 33.4 percent shareholding, was also affected by the restructuring of the shipping lines and similarly registered fluctuations in volume growth. The combined Italian terminals were down 2.1 percent at 5.4 million TEUs with a 7 percent rise in Cagliari-Sardinia and 14 percent jump at La Spezia-Liguria offset by a 6.9 percent drop at the Medcenter Container Terminal in Gioia Tauro-Calabria.

   Eurogate is planning total investments amounting to 750 million euros ($1.02 billion) to expand its terminal facilities, including the CT4 project in Bremerhaven, the westward expansion in Hamburg and the JadeWeserPort container terminal in Wilhelmshaven, as well as the construction of the Eurogate Tanger container terminal in Morocco.

   Emanuel Schiffer, chairman of the Eurogate group’s executive board, urged for a seedy realization of the expansion projects to secure Germany and Italy’s future as major port locations. “We cannot afford to lose time when it comes to realizing such decisive infrastructure projects as the deepening of the shipping channel in the Weser and Elbe,” Schiffer said.

   “We urgently need the support of all those who wield political clout. They must act in concert. That goes for development projects such as the expansion of port areas, the creation of new shipping berths and the expansion of hinterland links. Our customers, the global container shipping lines, expect an efficient infrastructure and sufficient handling capacities at the terminal facilities. At the latest with the maiden voyage of the world’s largest container vessel, the 'Emma Maersk' in September 2006, container shipping arrived in the future. There’s no time to lose.”

   Eurogate said its volumes had risen strongly at the start of 2007, improving 16.7 percent to 3.4 million TEUs with its German locations up 12.1 percent to 1.9 million TEUs and those in Italy up 23.4 percent to 1.5 million TEUs.

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