PORT Otago has announced a half-year profit of NZ$13 million for the six months ended December 2023, up 40% on the same six months in 2022.

Container volumes increased by 51% to 117,200 TEU, largely as a result of a 39,000 TEU increase in tranship container volumes and the addition of the new ANL weekly trans-Tasman service, the port said.

Full export and import container volumes were similar to the comparative period last year.

Revenue from marine and cargo services increased 28% to NZ$8.2 million, due to a higher number of total ship calls and improved container throughput.

Total bulk cargo volumes of 861,000 tonnes were down 6% for the six-month period due to log volumes being 7% lower at 504,000 tonnes.

Port Otago chair Tim Gibson said a recent deal with the port’s two operational unions had contributed to the positive outcomes.

He acknowledged the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union for their positive engagement in reaching a new labour model for the business.

“This is a significant boost for the business’s future, as it allows us to be more agile and responsive, while our kaimahi [workforce] have an improved work/life balance,” he said.

Turning to other aspects of the business, Mr Gibson said income from the property arm of Port Otago had increase 13% to NZ$19 million in the six months ended December 2023.

“This increase reflects on-going rent reviews and the completion of three Te Rapa Gateway design/build/lease properties, which are now contributing to rental income,” he said.

Port Otago’s cruise ship numbers over the six-month period increased slightly, from 31 to 33 vessels.

“While our cruise season has been impacted by unsettled weather, we still expect 118 cruise ship visits – 17% up on last season and about 200,000 more passengers visiting our region,” Mr Gibson said.

And looking ahead at the six months ending 30 June 2024, Mr Gibson anticipates a positive result for the full financial year.

“The container business is expected to continue performing above last year’s levels, as a result of the additional tranship volumes, ANL service and new labour model,” he said.

Directors declared an interim dividend of NZ$7.5 million – up from NZ$6.5 million last year – which was paid in February 2024.