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Mixed bag of results as New Zealand ports report financials

Pictured: the Port of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand; Photo: Shutterstock

A series of company earnings from New Zealand shows that the international maritime trade to and from the Pacific archipelago is largely strong, especially for the bigger ports, but the smaller ports have experienced some downturns in trade.

First up, NZ stock exchange-listed Port of Tauranga reported increased cargo volumes, higher revenues and increased profit. Tauranga, headquartered in NZ’s Bay of Plenty, is NZ’s largest port.

Revenues stood at NZ$153 million (USD$105.5 million) in the six months ended December 2018, up by just over eight percent on the prior corresponding period.

Group profits stood at NZ$49 million, up by four percent on the prior corresponding period. Total trade increased by eight percent to just under 13.6 million tonnes. Box volumes grew by just over five percent to 621,117 TEU. Tauranga is about 260 miles (417.82 km) north-by-east from the country’s capital, Wellington.

Marsden Maritime Holdings, the operator of Northport, recorded revenues of NZ$7.2 million and a net profit of NZ$4.4million for the six months to the end of of December 2018. Northport is about 380 miles (610km) nearly due north of New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Unfortunately cargo volumes declined 11 percent to 1.7 million tonnes, with log volumes down by just under ten percent.

MMH Chief Executive, Felix Richter commented, “While Northport cargo volumes were down in the first six months, volumes for the second six months are forecast to improve on the current period.”

Also revealing its performance is the local council-owned Port of Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand. Revenues to the six months to December 2018 were described as “stable” at NZ$23.7 million, albeit down marginally by 2.5 percent. Net profit was down 35 percent to NZ$4 million but that was the result of extensive one-off expenditure including re-purposing of buildings and the clearing of land to accommodate trade.

Taranaki volumes were down ten percent to 2.6 million tonnes owing to outages and maintenance shutdowns in the oil and gas sector. However, that was partially offset by an increase in animal feed, driven by hot and dry conditions that caused farmers to support their stock with supplementary feed.

South Port, at the far southern end of New Zealand, saw a 7.4 percent increase in revenue to just under $21m in the six months to the end of December 2018, although increased repairs and maintenance led to a reduction in net profit after tax by just over seven percent.

South Port’s net profit after tax for the period was NZ$4.55 million. South Port estimates full year earnings of about NZ$8.6 million to NZ$8.9 million. South Port is about 486 miles (783 km) southwest-by-south from Wellington.

Other main ports in New Zealand, such as Napier and Auckland, report to a different schedule and so are not included here.