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Ports of Auckland’s Annual Results to 30 June 2020

Short-term results impacted by COVID-19, but ongoing transformation of the port's technology and capacity continues.

Key points​

1. Financials

  • Group Revenue fell 6.7% to $231.4 million from $248.1 million in the previous corresponding period (pcp).
  • Reported net profit after tax was $23.0m million compared to $53.9m for the pcp.
  • For the financial years ending 30 June 2020 and 2021 Ports of Auckland has agreed with its owner Auckland Council to pay a dividend of 20% of after-tax profits, reduced from 80%, in order to fund the investment programme. The dividend for the year ended June 2020 was $4.9 million, to be paid on 30 September.

2. Volumes

  • Container throughput fell 6.3% to 880,781 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) compared to 939,680 TEU for the pcp.
  • Car and light commercial vehicle throughput fell 15.2% to 216,356 units, compared with 255,252 units for the pcp.
  • Total bulk and breakbulk throughput (including cars & light commercial vehicles) fell 11.7% to 5.8 million tonnes compared to 6.5 million tonnes for the pcp. Non-car bulk and breakbulk volumes fell 9.0% to 3.4 million tonnes.

3. Our people

  • A huge focus this year has been to keep our people safe from COVID-19. We acted early and comprehensively to put safety measures in place and to ensure our people could continue to deliver the essential services Auckland and the country need.
  • Automation is bringing many changes to the port, and we are delivering a comprehensive training and support programme to help our people through those changes. A number of our people have been upskilled with new competencies and new roles related to automation.

4. Customers

  • As expected, automating our container terminal while still running a full operation has presented some challenges, and these have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown. There have been some impacts on customers, particularly the trucking sector and we are working closely with them to make the change to automation as smooth as possible.
  • Multi-Cargo operations continue to perform well. Productivity was high during the COVID-19 lockdown and continues to be so as a result of lower multi-cargo throughput. Car dwell time fell to a record low 2.07 days from 2.42 days for the pcp.

5. Transforming the port

  • ​Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we have made excellent progress on key Master Plan projects and we are very well placed for future growth once New Zealand emerges from the current downturn.

Ports of Auckland today released its results for the 2019/20 financial year.

Chief Executive Tony Gibson said, "COVID-19 presented us with some significant challenges, reducing volumes and revenue, but we have risen to those challenges and we are well placed for future growth."

"We were about to run trial shipments through the automated half of our terminal when lockdown was imposed. Key staff from our overseas vendors were unable to come to New Zealand when the borders were closed. Parts of the project were delayed as a result, extending it into the busy import season and adding to the challenge. Nevertheless, automation is going well.
Because we are automating a live terminal (as opposed to building a new terminal) we are phasing in automation and running a long trial operations period. We are currently running automated operations in the north of the terminal and manual operations in the south. We have some final pavement upgrades to complete in the south before switching to whole-of-terminal operations.

"Productivity through the automated terminal has been good so far, with crane rates reaching twenty container moves per hour, – a high rate for this stage of an automation project. Operating the terminal in two halves – one automated and one manual – is the most difficult stage of the project and we are confident productivity will increase further once the whole terminal is live.

"The greatest significance of this work is the increase in capacity it gives us. As a city port, we can't expand further into the harbour, but technology lets us grow. We've now got enough room to keep growing to 2050 and beyond.
"We have also completed construction of our new car handling building, which increases capacity at our car terminal. Despite COVID-19 it was completed on time and on budget.

"We have also been granted consent to deepen Auckland's shipping channel, securing Auckland and New Zealand's vital connection to the world for the next 35 years or more. The consent is currently being appealed, but we still hope to start work on deepening the channel in late 2021. This is important as container lines want to use bigger ships on the Auckland trades, which will lower emissions and reduce costs for consumers.

"Finally, we continue to make good progress toward our goal of becoming a zero-emission port by 2040. Much work has been undertaken on our zero-emission roadmap. Construction of our world-first electric ship-handling tug has started and it is due to be delivered in about 12 months' time. Our new tug is called 'Sparky', a name chosen by Aucklanders in a competition earlier in 2020. We look forward to welcoming Sparky in 2021.

"Last but not least I want to thank our people for their hard work and dedication this year. While New Zealand was in lockdown our people carried on working, like many essential workers, making sure the goods Kiwis needed continued to flow to our supermarkets and other businesses. For many, it was the first time they'd really been able to understand their role in keeping New Zealand moving, and it made them proud to be able to contribute in this way.

"Even after lockdown COVID-19 has had an impact as we've been handling changing and unpredictable cargo flows.

"I am proud of what our people have achieved this year and I would like to thank them all.

"The coming financial year is shaping up to be interesting. It seems certain that economic activity in New Zealand and globally will be subdued for some time, despite hopes that a vaccine will be found soon, and some form of normal life can resume. Despite this, Auckland's port is in a very strong position to continue to support the rebuild of Auckland's economy and future growth.

"Automation will be fully implemented this year and we look forward to finetuning it to get the most out of its potential. The new capacity will allow us to compete vigorously for freight that is better suited to be transported via Auckland, both for economic and environmental reasons. Auckland's port will always be the lowest carbon route into and out of Auckland and we have real potential to help Auckland's importers and exporters significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

"With the car handling building complete we are another step on our journey to providing more capacity for vehicle handling and in opening up more downtown waterfront for public use. And with approval to deepen Auckland's shipping channel we have secured a key supply route and will soon be able to handle larger ships. Our outlook is bright.

Ports of Auckland's annual report is available here. 


For further information contact:
Matt Ball
Head of Communications
M: +6421 495 645
E: [email protected]