PORT of Tauranga has announced what it says is “stable profitability” for the first six months of the 2020 financial year, despite total cargo volumes dropping 4.2% to just under 13.3m tonnes.

 Group net profit after tax was NZ$48.3m, 1.4% lower than the same period the previous year.

Adjusting for the impact of adopting new accounting standard NZ IFRS 16 for leases, which reduced profit after tax for the period by NZ$587,000, comparative earnings were 99.8% of the prior corresponding period.

Container numbers rose 3.4% to 642,209TEU for the six months to December 2019.

Transhipment, where cargo is transferred from one ship to another at Tauranga, rose 3.7%.

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This trend continues to consolidate Port of Tauranga’s position as New Zealand’s international hub port.

Port of Tauranga chair, David Pilkington, said the mid-year results represented another solid financial performance.

 “Total trade was down 4.2%, but we managed to increase revenue 1.2% to NZ$154.8m for the six months,” Mr Pilkington said.

“The longer-term outlook remains for cargo growth, particularly in containerised cargo, so our next stage of capacity expansion is already under way.”

Port of Tauranga has just taken delivery of its ninth container crane and is to extend its container terminal wharves by up to 220 metres by converting cargo storage land to the south.

Future expansion stages are to be driven by cargo volume growth and is to primarily involve rail-mounted electric stacking cranes and additional ship-to-shore cranes.

According to management, the trade outlook for the second half of the 2020 financial year remains uncertain and dependent on the duration of the market shutdown in China. “Given the market uncertainty, we are reducing our full year profit guidance from NZ$96 – $101m to $94 – $99m,” Mr Pilkington said.

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