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Port of Tauranga reports better profit than expected

New Zealand's biggest port increased its profit in the face of supply chain disruptions, with booming log and kiwifruit exports helping to lift cargo volumes. The company said its broad range of cargo and long term freight agreements with big customers had underpinned its earnings as it coped with significant shipping and trade disruptions.

Key numbers for the year ended June vs year ago

  • Net profit: $102.4m vs $88.7m
  • Revenue: $338.3m vs $302m
  • Cargo (tonnes): 25.7m vs 24.8m
  • Dividend (final): 7.5 cps vs 6.4 cps

Chief executive Leonard Sampson said the port had been flexible enough to handle delayed and cancelled ship visits and a build-up of empty containers.

Quoted him as saying: "We saw 106 fewer container vessel visits between September 2020 and June 2021. However, the average cargo exchange increased 21.7 percent due to the reduced vessel frequency and shippers maximizing available capacity."

The port at times had been congested by near record container volumes, not enough trains to shift import containers to Auckland, and ships arriving out of schedule, Sampson said.

Congestion was unlikely to be resolved until shipping schedules improved and Ports of Auckland got back to operating at full capacity. "This highlights the need for Port of Tauranga to expand its capacity to cater for future demand. We have applied for resource consent to extend our container berths to the south of the existing wharves, by converting existing cargo storage land. "

The expansion would cost more than $68m and it was also looking at automating some container handling operations, Sampson said.

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