Port Taranaki weathered the Covid-19 downturn to post $17.5 million in earnings before tax for 2019-2020 – up 34.5 per cent from $13m the previous year, the company reported.
This means the port has paid an interim dividend of $4.5m to its sole shareholder – the Taranaki Regional Council – with a further $3.5m approved, its annual report said.
The dividend money will be used to offset rates.
The port’s earnings before tax were built on a trade of 5.46 million tonnes – up 8.4 per cent, or 423,000 tonnes, on 2018-19.
Covid-19 impacted the company’s log trade, with volumes dropping 8.1 per cent to 801,000 Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) tonnes.
But diversification of business, including live cattle exports and wind farm components, saw general trade increase more than 460 per cent to 227,000 tonnes.
Net profit after tax was the largest in the port’s history at $12.2m, up from $7.5m in 2018-19.
Full year revenue rose 9.7 per cent to $51.8m – the second highest in the company’s history after $55.3m in 2013-14.
“We are extremely proud of this result, which highlights the importance of Port Taranaki to the supply chain, and to communities and businesses in Taranaki and the central and lower North Island,” Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said.
“Given our adaptability and dedication to work with our customers, we continue to investigate additional trade opportunities.”
Bulk liquid trade remains Port Taranaki’s dominant business by volume, with 3.73 million tonnes crossing the Newton King Tanker Terminal during the year.
This was up from 3.41 million tonnes in 2018-19, an increase of 9.38 per cent.
“This was in large part due to Methanex, our largest customer, returning to increased production having been shut for a period of maintenance the previous year, and because of less disruption of supply from the Pohokura gas field,” Roper said.
Bulk dry trade reached 710, 000 tonnes.
Operating expenditure was $26.7m, up from $26.6m, due to the receivership of Tamarind Taranaki, rising insurance costs and investment in a second mobile crane.
Chairman Richard Krogh said the outlook for the coming year was positive, although caution was warranted over trade volumes in the first half of the year amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“At this stage, we expect trade volumes to remain steady at around 5 million tonnes, although continued concerns around Covid-19 means there is uncertainty,” he said.