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CentrePort returns to profit

CentrePort returns to profit on increased log shipments, container volumes

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 30 (BusinessDesk) - CentrePort, Wellington's port operator, returned to profit as increased log shipments and container volumes helped it recover from an earthquake-affected result in 2014.

Net profit rose to $14 million in the 12 months ended June 30, turning around a loss of $1.9 million in the earlier year when CentrePort incurred costs for the July 2013 earthquakes, which damaged the port, the Wellington-based company said in a statement.

Revenue increased 9 percent to $66 million with a 13 percent increase in container trade to 107,407 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) while the log trade increased 8 percent to 875,028 Japanese agricultural standard units (JAS).

The result represents a 7.1 percent return on equity, increasing shareholder funds to $6.8 million after dividend payments of $6.3 million, CentrePoint said.

The port operator is about 77 percent owned by Wellington Regional Council and 23 percent by Horizons Regional Council, whose territory extends from Horowhenua and Tararua to include Ruapehu in the central North Island. The company has established inland freight hubs in New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Whanganui and Blenheim.

Wellington's port wants to deepen its shipping channel and has increased its port storage facilities to accommodate larger vessels and more cargo.

"In the past 12 months, we continued to prepare our application for consent to deepen Wellington’s shipping channel to accommodate bigger ships," chief executive Blair O'Keefe said in the annual report.

New Zealand's biggest ports are racing to tie up the nation's flow of freight, via inland hubs, alliances and partnerships with transport companies. Port of Tauranga, which is spending $50 million to deepen its channels, established a hub in South Auckland, invested in Timaru's port infrastructure and teamed up with Kotahi, a freight venture between Fonterra Cooperative Group and Silver Fern Farms. It is also developing an inland port on the southern outskirts of Christchurch. Meanwhile, Ports of Auckland, Napier Port and storage and logistics group Icepak New Zealand have set up a joint venture to build an inland port and freight hub in Palmerston North.

The Wellington port has expanded its reach, opening a new container terminal in Whanganui. It has a relationship with state-owned KiwiRail to transport containers across the central New Zealand, which lowers costs, it said.


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