Focusing on core priorities under the shadow of COVID-19
Ports of Auckland has had a reasonable six months, with progress made on our core priorities despite working through one of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns.
We continue to focus on improving our safety culture and practices. Lockdown delayed some of our work to implement the recommendations of the Construction Health and Safety New Zealand report into safety at Ports of Auckland, but 21 actions have been completed and the remaining 24 are in progress. We are on course to implement all the recommendations by the end of June 2022.
We continue to reinforce that safety is paramount in all our initiatives.
Volumes are up across all cargo types.
Container volume was up at 364,140 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) compared with 358,899 TEU in the prior comparative period.
Breakbulk volume (including cars) for the period was 3.910m tonnes compared to 3.153m tonnes. Within that, car volumes were 129,924 units compared to 104,224.
The improved volumes contributed revenue of $131.6m for the six months, up by $17.4m from the previous comparative period ($114.2m) while costs increased by $15.7m due to additional costs in energy, depreciation, and labour, from the impact of Covid 19.
Financial results improved, with Group Net Profit after Tax increasing to $23.5m, an increase of 72.8% from December 2020 results. However, this result includes $8.6m revaluation gain on investment properties. Excluding this gain, Group Net Profit After Tax increased by 9.05%.
We are paying an interim dividend to our shareholder Auckland Council of $2.114m.
The long Auckland lockdown also slowed the automation project, but we have made steady progress and started stage two of testing in mid-January. For the first time in two years, we have expert support from the overseas vendor on the ground in Auckland, which is proving invaluable. We are aiming to implement a Full Terminal Rollout by June 30, but current and further delays from Covid and the Omicron surge and the difficulties of operating under the 'traffic light' settings is putting pressure on this timetable.
There was some improvement in our container terminal service delivery in the period, but there is still more work to do. Disruption to the supply chain offshore and congestion in Auckland's landside supply chain are contributing to congestion in the terminal which is slowing our whole operation. While there is little we can do about these external factors, we are working to lift our productivity where we can.
A key part of this is recruiting and upskilling staff. We've increased operational staff numbers by 17% in the last 12 months and are looking to increase staff numbers further over the coming year.
Omicron is not going to make the next six months easy, especially with Auckland continuing to be the epicentre of New Zealand's COVID-19 outbreak. Congestion in the landside supply-chain has already impacted port operations this year, and it will get worse in the short term as more people get infected.
We have had robust COVID-19 controls in place on the port for nearly two years and have put additional measures, such as pre-work Rapid Antigen Tests, in place. While these COVID controls slow down operations, they have helped us avoid the significant port shutdowns which have been seen overseas.
We will continue to focus on our core priorities for the remainder of the financial year and look forward to conditions gradually returning to normal in FY23.
Ports of Auckland's 2022 Interim Report is available here: https://www.poal.co.nz/media-publications/resultsandreviews/2022%20Interim%20Report.pdf
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