Saturday 22nd Sep, 2018

Earthquake whacks CentrePort’s earnings, but future is sunny

Photo: Nick Servian and Centreport
Photo: Nick Servian and Centreport

WELLINGTON’S CentrePort posted a NZ$2.3m loss for this past financial year, according to its recently released year-end results.

The loss comes after the Port decided it was necessary to make a provision of NZ$63m to invest in resilience over the coming years, with this provision subtracted and combined with a $9m increase in Port land value, its profit after tax from continuing operations would be NZ$51.7m.

CentrePort’s total revenue for this past financial year fell 16% on the previous year to NZ$63m, but these revenue figures do not include NZ$9m in business interruption insurance income received after last November’s Kaikoura earthquake.

This decrease is despite significant growth in volumes in several trade categories including vehicles and cruise, which are up on last year by 32% and 12% respectively.

Chairman Lachie Johnstone said the Board was pleased by the financial results and the progress the company had made to recover from last year’s earthquake.

“These results show us investing in the Port’s resilience,” he said. “They also show strong underlying performance.”

CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind said CentrePort had decided to account for the impact of the earthquake sooner rather than later.

“Our financial statements shows us facing up to the damage we’ve sustained, and investing to build our resilience in the future,” he said.

“We’re also seeing the benefits of being well insured, and expect these benefits to continue. We’re now focussed on completing temporary recovery works, and formulating plans for the long-term regeneration of the Port.”

However, the future of the Port is far from glum.

Over the past year it received NZ$173m in insurance income, which helped fund the NZ$28m temporary works program to allow a reinstatement of its two ship-to-shore cranes, which returned to operation last month.

Also, the Port is looking forward to a bumper cruise season this year, with the Radiance of the Seas already having called at Wellington.

Mr Nind said the Port was expecting more than 80 cruise ships and some 230,000 visitors.

“We’ll be working closely with other stakeholders to ensure our cruise visitors have a great experience of Wellington,” he said.

“Free shuttle buses for passengers will be running between the Port and central Wellington, and we’ve installed facilities for visitors to temporarily replace those damaged by last year’s earthquake.”

New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan said CentrePort’s effective response to last year’s earthquake shows it recognised the importance of cruise visits to the region.

“CentrePort didn’t miss an operational beat following last year’s earthquake, accepting their next cruise ship call days after the event,” he said.

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