WASHINGTON: The Port of Tauranga’s net profit climbed 7.9 percent to $83.4 million in the year ended June, compared with $77.3m last year. The port handled 1.1 million containers last year as it became the only one in New Zealand able to accommodate super-large container ships. The port’s chairman, David Pilkington, said it has an edge over other ports. “The successful completion of our dredging project in September was a turning point, as bigger vessels were able to call in New Zealand for the first time.”
Port revenue rose 4.2 percent to $255.9m, with export volumes rising 8 percent and imports up 13.7 percent. Mr Pilkington said it was clear that New Zealand was moving to a structure of several large hub ports receiving and sending cargo and connected by coastal shipping to smaller feeder ports. “The sums of capital required to accommodate bigger ships … is clearly not affordable across all of New Zealand’s current container ports.” The dredging of Tauranga harbour and infrastructure cost $350m.
The port has inland freight operations in South Auckland and Canterbury, and half stakes in ports in Whangarei and Timaru. It did not give earnings guidance but said it expects cargo and earnings growth in the year ahead. It increased its annual dividend to 11.2 cents a share, and said it would also pay a special dividend of 5 cents per share as part of its plan to return spare cash to shareholders.