LYTTELTON Port Company has said its revenue remained “well behind forecast” for the six months to 31 December 2023.

The South Island port reported an operating revenue of NZ$93.14 million in the interim period to the end of end of 2023, up NZ$2.1 million from last year.

Operating revenue lifted by 2.3% for the six-month period.

LPC chief executive Graeme Sumner said the revenue result was lower than expected and reflected a downturn in market conditions.

“Container volumes continue to be well down at 225,816 TEU, 11% down on last year,” Mr Sumner said.

“A drop in imported and transhipped containers reflected a slowdown in the market, lower consumer demand and a tightening of the economy.

“This, coupled with higher operating costs, resulted in a fall in profit for the half year.”

LPC’s net profit after tax for the six months at the end of December 2023 was NZ$8.08 million, down 33% on the same period last year.

Expenses for that period rose by 6.3% to US$69.23 million compared with NZ$65.15 million for the same period, reflecting increased labour, insurance, dredging and consumables costs.

“Given the general conditions of the New Zealand economy, reduced container numbers and below-budget revenue, LPC has cut costs to make savings,” said Mr Sumner said.

“A number of capital expenditure projects have been delayed or cancelled with the focus on improving financial performance and delivering a dividend.”

“We have also focused on operating expenses, including reducing staff numbers in some areas.”

LPC paid a final dividend for the 30 June 2023 year of NZ$6.46 million in November 2023 to Christchurch City Holdings, the wholly-owned investment arm of the Christchurch City Council and the 100% owner of LPC.

This brought the total dividends paid for the 30 June 2023 year to NZ$10 million.