Shipping containers have been blown into the Bluff harbour as severe weather hits Southland.
A stevedore said several 40ft containers, which were in a stack of five high, had blown over, some falling into the water.
It is believed about 10 were in the water.
The containers were empty and tug boats in the water were out securing them.
“It’s very rare.”
The stevedore expected the containers to eventually sink and then be pulled out by a crane.
South Port chief executive Nigel Gear said the “current situation is that, due to particularly strong winds, some containers have been dislodged from the stack and have landed both in the yard and also into the berth area”.
“The container terminal therefore has been closed down for safety reasons (standard practice) and we are currently working through the process of securing the containers that have fallen into the berth.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, especially the wind conditions, over the next 24 hours.”
Up the road, Invercargill is the windiest place in the country at the moment, being hit by forceful 120kmh westerly wind gusts and persistent rain.
There are power outages throughout the region with some businesses closing early because of no power.
Air New Zealand flights both arriving and departing the city had been delayed.
Severe weather warnings and watches have been issued for severe westerly quarter gales with the Canterbury High Country and coastal Clutha, Southland and Stewart Island most at risk.
Metservice data showed just over 4mm of rain had fallen in Invercargill so far on Wednesday.
Fourteen millimetres of rain was forecast for the day.
Wind watches and warnings are expected to ease on Wednesday night. However, the strong winds were forecast to continue, not dropping below 30kmh until 6pm Thursday.
Metservice forecast 22mm of rain to fall on Thursday as well.
Several places throughout the country recorded gusts over 100kmh on Tuesday.
Stewart Island saw the biggest gust with 148kmh, while Castlepoint saw 119kmh. Both Remutaka Hill near Wellington and Swampy Summit near Dunedin saw gusts of 113kmh.
A road snowfall warning has been issued for the Crown Range Rd and the Milford Rd.
Snow showers are expected to affect higher parts of the Crown Range Rd between midday and 6pm on Thursday, when 1cm or less of snow may settle on the road above 900 metres.
Snow showers were expected to affect the summit of the Milford Road between 10pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday, when 1 or 2cm of snow may settle.
Moving some or all of Auckland’s port out of the city and revitalising Northland’s port including building a rail line between the two are some of the options canvassed in a new report.
However, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has warned against the potential loss of income from Ports of Auckland if it were moved or downsized, saying if the annual $50 million dividend was lost it could lead to a 4 per cent rate rise.
The first of three progress reports by a working group tasked with investigating New Zealand’s upper North Island supply chain strategy outlines key information about the country’s three main ports: Ports of Auckland on the city’s waterfront, Northport at Marsden Point near Whāngārei and Port of Tauranga.
The ports are critical to New Zealand’s freight task and together account for half of the country’s total export volume and two-thirds of its import volume, in tonnes.
Port of Tauranga handled the highest volume of all New Zealand ports (in tonnes) and was the most successful of the three upper North Island ports having capitalised on rail infrastructure provided to the Bay of Plenty region by the Government.
“We will therefore be considering whether similar investment in Northland would provide similar results for the region and Northport,” the working group said.
The report, released by Associate Minister of Transport Shane Jones, noted that overall imports are expected to increase across all upper North Island regions while exports will increase initially before declining at Northport and Port of Tauranga, largely because of projected decline in log exports.
However, it said roading and rail in the Northland region was so lacking that the working group “fundamentally believe there is no point making further investment in Northport without investment and development of the train line to Auckland”.
“… it is generally agreed that the lack of rail infrastructure and connectivity to Northport has hindered Northland’s economic development.”
Ports of Auckland occupied 77ha of Auckland waterfront with a book value of $735m, though this was thought to be well below valuation of comparable industrial land.
“This excludes the massive social, cultural, environmental and economic value that would be created by transforming this property into a globally iconic waterfront,” the working group said.
Stakeholders including the ports, shareholders and the road freight and shipping industries named several issues surrounding the current port system including:
• They are competing and not co-operating;
• Lack of rail infrastructure and port connectivity had been a brake on Northland’s economic development;
• Unanimous support for a fully functioning rail system to the ports;
• Concerns over duplication of port and inland port assets;
• Congestion was the main problem for freight operators.
Options to make the three ports work better included the Northland to Auckland rail spur, a second route between Auckland and Tauranga, a freight corridor through West Auckland, a West Auckland inland port, an expanded or moved Southdown inland port, a new mega port in the Firth of Thames, a vehicle servicing and import facility at Northport and a New Zealand dry dock.
Goff welcomed the report but said it did not present an analysis of options, the business case for each and the impact of each option on Auckland, the region and the country.
“The relocation of the Port out of Auckland’s city centre has some clear advantages.
“It would ultimately open up 77 hectares of central city and harbourside land and wharves for alternative and potentially more valuable uses.
“As in other international cities, it could enhance the attractiveness of Auckland as a place to live, work, enjoy and to visit. It would also reduce congestion caused by freight movement and pollution from associated activities.”
However, he said as a city of 1.7 million people making up 35 per cent of New Zealand’s population, Auckland needed to have the most cost-effective and efficient way of delivering goods and services to its people.
“Vital to the decision of moving Auckland’s port is the impact of each alternative location on Auckland consumers and businesses.”
Aucklanders needed to know whether and how much alternative port sites added to costs for the city, Goff said.
“We also need to ensure that the working group on the supply chain strategy considers the value of the investment Aucklanders have made in their port and the dividend return they get from it which in past years has been $50 million – equivalent to a 3 to 4 per cent rate increase if that dividend is lost.”
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the progress report identified well-known issues such as the need for increased investment in road and rail networks and the historic financial under-performance and inconsistent reporting by some ports.
He said Port of Tauranga challenged some of the “facts, assumptions and implications” in the interim report, and were hopeful they will be addressed before the next report.
“For example, the report states that the Bay of Plenty and Waikato have benefitted from rail infrastructure and investment provided by the Government at no capital cost to the end user.
“This ignores the $267 million in rail costs paid by Port of Tauranga since 2010.”
National’s Transport spokesman Paul Goldsmith claimed the interim report showed a “thinly disguised preference for massive investment in rail between South Auckland and Northport, leading to a shift of activity away from the Ports of Auckland to Northport”.
“It also seems to be peddling the concept of a nationalised ports monopoly in the upper North Island. There is no evidence or analysis to back up the suggestion that such a nationalised monopoly would be more efficient than current arrangements.
“There is no evidence to suggest the billions it would cost to upgrade rail from Auckland to Whangarei, plus building a new spur to Marsden point and a new freight line across Auckland, would be the best use of scarce transport resources and would lead to a better outcome for exporters or consumers.”
Goldsmith said the Government was “quite right” to be inquiring into the efficiency of freight movements across the NOrth Island and planning for the long term future.
“We support careful and considered planning of future investment. Which is why National has supported the Government’s planned Infrastructure Commission to advise on such things. The direction of this report, however, undermines the Infrastructure Commission approach.”
A second report outlining advantages to changing from the status quo, international comparisons and a long-term view will be presented to Cabinet in June.
The final report with recommendations for future development and strategy will be presented to Cabinet in September.
Upper North Island ports by the numbers
• Exported 3.25 million revenue tonnes in one year, mostly logs as well as kiwifruit, steel and woodchip;
• Imported considerably lower amount of 311,000 tonnes to June 2018.
Port of Tauranga
• Accounted for 43 per cent of New Zealand’s total export volume in year to June 2018;
• 55 per cent of exports are wood and paper products, majority of which are logs.
Ports of Auckland
• Second largest container port after Tauranga, Ports of Auckland is significant for imports because of the population it serves – 35 per cent of New Zealand’s population.
• Largest importer of vehicles. In year to June 2018, Ports of Auckland handled almost 300,000 cars, a 43 per cent increase from 2014.
• Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga have an import-export imbalance – Auckland has higher imports and Tauranga higher exports. It means about 40 per cent of 20-foot containers stand empty.
Of all the policies the NZ First Party brought into this coalition Government, the wildest and wackiest was to move the entire port of Auckland to Marsden Pt. The Labour Party agreed only to commission a feasibility study the idea of moving the port and left open the choice of alternative sites. Winston Peters, hoping to hold the Northland seat, promised to move the whole operation to Northport, but the coalition agreement merely directed Northport be given “serious consideration”.
The feasibility study led by former Far North District mayor Wayne Brown is reported to have produced an interim report for the Government and its tentative suggestions ought to be interesting. The fact that ministers will receive at the same time a report on upgrading the railway from Auckland the Marsden Pt suggests Northport is the preferred alternative for at least some of Auckland’s imports.
Doubtless there are countless ways that goods shipped to or from New Zealand could be better shared between various ports, not only for more efficient handling and distribution but also to stop the Auckland port encroaching ever further on the Waitematā harbour.
Doubtless too, the companies running ports would quickly find a more efficient use of them — within the constraints on Auckland — if Ports of Auckland Ltd had commercial shareholders.
Its nearest rivals, Port of Tauranga and Northport, are majority owned by their local bodies but also have tradeable shares which has resulted in a degree of cross-ownership. Tauranga has a stake in Northport, as does Ports of Auckland Ltd. But PoAL is entirely owned by the Auckland Council which has been averse to any of its business going to other ports.
Total public ownership has been a mixed blessing for Auckland citizens. While the council collects all the port’s dividends it suffers a conflict of interest when Aucklanders oppose the port’s further expansion. Despite a long campaign to stop the port company extending wharves for the latest cruise ships, the council is allowing moored “dolphins” and walkways to extend Queens Wharf.
Mayor Phil Goff did not exactly welcome news this week that an interim report of the feasibility study has arrived on ministers’ desks. “Any decisions on the future of Ports of Auckland should have the agreement of the council,” he said. “We accept that at some point the growth of freight into Auckland will outgrow the land available…..” Citizens opposed to further harbour reclamation would say that point was reached some time ago. Goff said the same when he stood for election.
“However, the port is also a critical lifeline of freight into our city,” he says now. No it is not. Freight from any other port could reach Auckland, making room for cruise ships within Auckland port’s existing harbour footprint.
Most of Auckland’s port is unlikely to be going anywhere. The feasibility study should be looking at rationalising the use of all New Zealand Ports but it should not suppose politicians can best decide where freight goes. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is planning to partially float its port at Napier. If the Auckland Council did likewise it would see the city’s interests more clearly.
In the high-tech equivalent of “look Mum, no hands,” Ports of Auckland’s new 70-tonne straddle carriers will hurtle around at up to 22km/h, without anyone at the controls.
This Luddite’s nightmare means no human contact with the container from the time the truck driver unscrews his twist locks to just before it is hoisted by crane and deposited on a ship. For imports, it will be the same process, only in reverse.
As the port sees it, public opinion is against expansion through further reclamation, so the only way to improve productivity is through technology.
The system is now being tested, with empty containers stacked high to act as a barrier in case something goes wrong.
And something going wrong doesn’t really bear thinking about: fully laden, the port’s new carriers weigh in at 100 tonnes – not easy to stop in a hurry.
When the project is complete, the port’s 27 new blue carriers will be involved in an elaborate dance to get containers on and off ships, with the process controlled by software at head office.
“It feels funny when you see this giant machine coming straight towards you,” says the port’s automation project manager, Ross Clarke.
The Auckland Council-owned port is under pressure from New Zealand First to relocate to Whangārei, and the Government is conducting a comprehensive upper North Island logistics and freight review to ensure New Zealand’s supply chain is fit for purpose in the longer term.
The review will guide the development and delivery of a freight and logistics strategy for the upper North Island. This includes a feasibility study to explore moving the location of Ports of Auckland, with consideration to be given to Northport.
Clarke says the new straddle carrier technology, alongside the port’s three new cranes that arrived last year from China, is seen as a game changer.Can we resuscitate our struggling sharemarket?
Automation will increase its terminal capacity from just over 900,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent units) a year to 1.6-1.7 million, the port says.
Auckland will be the first New Zealand port to partially automate its container terminal.
At the same time, the port says the straddle carriers will save as much as 10 per cent on fuel use. There should also be less impact on neighbouring communities as they will require less light and will not make as much noise as conventional, manned carriers.
The new Konecrane carriers will deliver more capacity because they can stack four containers compared to just three for the existing carriers. This, combined with changes to the terminal layout and past reclamation work, is expected to increase capacity by 80 per cent.
They come with a positioning system called Locator – a type of ground-based GPS that boasts an accuracy of plus or minus 3cm.
Clarke says that given its constrained area, something had to be done to grow the port.
“If we didn’t do something to increase that capacity then the business’s throughput, and therefore revenue and profit, would be capped.
“We can’t expand the footprint of the terminal – the public have been clear about that,” he says.
“Dwell times” – the time it takes for exports inside terminal gates to be loaded onto a ship and imports onto a truck or train – are already low by world standards.
“So the only other avenue to increase the storage capacity is to stack more densely and we are going up with automated machines.”
Automation means stevedoring roles will go, but Clarke says the number of jobs lost is likely to be less than the original estimate of 50.
“The chances are that with the new cranes, and the increased throughput, the reduction in jobs might not be that much at all,” he says.
“Implementing automation helps fund the investment in the new technology. Reducing jobs was never the ambition – it’s just an outcome.”
Clarke says the port has trouble recruiting enough staff to deal with current demand, and there are vacancies it can’t fill.
“With the business growing, and the number of unfilled jobs that we have at the moment, the actual level of redundancies might be quite small.”
The high-tech carriers will initially work with the port’s new, $60 million, 82.3m high cranes which weigh in at 2100 tonnes apiece, against 1200 and 1300 tonnes for the older cranes.
The port says that with these new cranes, and the new deepwater berth they will sit alongside, the port will be able to handle the biggest ships coming to these shores.
They can lift four containers at once, weighing up to 130 tonnes combined, a New Zealand first. The current cranes can lift two containers, weighing up to 65 tonnes.
The new cranes can service ships carrying more than 11,000 TEU, which the port expects will offer some “future-proofing” against increases in the size of ships.
Ports of Auckland is only the second port in the world to automate as a “brownfields” development – most automated ports are built from scratch.
Clarke says maintaining the port’s day-to-day operations while the project is underway has been a big challenge.
Initially the northern third of the terminal – where the new cranes are – will be automated while the southern part will continue with manned straddle carriers.
Once it is satisfied that the technology is working to plan, the port company will complete the rollout for the rest of the terminal.
The first stage goes live in February next year, followed by the second stage in April.
Clarke says that by the middle of 2020, the port should have a fully operational automated container terminal.
KiwiRail says it is pleased with work undertaken to date on a potential extension of its rail network to Northport at Marsden Point.
The firm began geotechnical work in late October on a route for a 20-kilometre spur line from Oakleigh, running east toward Marsden Point.
The final drilling was completed today and further exploration work will continue this year, acting chief executive Todd Moyle said in a statement.
“Our investigations have focused on areas where the most significant engineering works would be needed,” he said.
“Concurrently we are looking at how we can upgrade the North Auckland Line between Auckland and Oakleigh. The tunnels on that line are old, low and narrow. We have had two significant derailments on the line in recent months due to a lack of funding for maintenance. It has been unable to carry passengers for the past year and freight options are restricted.”
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones visited the drilling site today.
New Zealand First has driven an investigation into the feasibility of relocating Ports of Auckland to Northport. That is being considered by a five-member working group tasked with developing a broader strategy to better integrate transport logistics chains in the upper North Island.
The cost of the new spur line was estimated at $100 million a decade ago. Bringing the Auckland to Northland line up to standard to handle major freight volumes has previously been estimated at more than $2 billion.
Jones, a list MP, lives in Northland and is a fan of rail. Tourism and freight projects of state-owned KiwiRail have so far received close to $90 million from the Provincial Growth Fund he oversees, including funding for the Northland spur study.
KiwiRail chair Greg Miller says significant agricultural and horticultural investment going into Northland will require an efficient supply chain.
The Provincial Growth Fund will allow a renewal of regional rail and there is a growing acceptance of the wider benefits rail brings by taking trucks off roads, reducing road maintenance costs and improving road safety, he says.
“There is a long way to go in Northland but we are heartened by what we have found so far.”
Global major terminal operators maintained a throughput of 41.69m teus in Q3 2018, but the “growth rate of the global terminal operators fell further to 5.8%, the lowest in the past two years,” a new report shows.
The Shanghai International Shipping Institute’s ‘Global Port Development Report of Q3 2018’ found global terminal operators had a “mediocre” performance in Q3 and Chinese and US ports in particular have suffered as a result of the US-China trade war.
The report confirms that “the escalating Sino-US trade war and shipping alliances’ trim or shutdown of liners and control on shipping space hindered the growth of the container shipping market.”
Container throughout down
Cargo throughput in the world’s major ports in Q3 2018 is up 7.4% year-on-year, but the growth rate of container throughput has declined, showed the report.
Cargo throughput rose to over 3.01bn tonnes in Q3 2018, but container throughout fared less well with 92.57m teus of containers handled, merely increasing 2.7% year-on-year.
Performance in production suffered as the escalating China-US trade friction ripped over to products suitable for container shipping, such as small-sized equipment and white goods.
Among the US ports, the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of Long Beach were most affected. The import and export volumes of major products hit by the tariff all fell to various extents, and the cargo throughput of these two ports dropped 1.9% and 3.4% year-on-year, respectively.
Of the Chinese ports, Shenzhen Port has the highest proportion of container throughput for the China-US shipping routes, which accounts for 27% of its overall container throughput. The trade war will dampen its business related to the international shipping routes by 4.5%, stated the report.
As trade friction continued to escalate, the throughput of Shenzhen Port fell 2.6% year-on-year to 6.9 million teus; with slow growth in exports and a withering container volume transferring to China and exporting to the US, the port saw its container throughput plunge 10.4% year-on-year to 4.82m teus.
Other issues which impacted growth and performance included increasingly strict environmental protection policies and a downward trend in global dry bulk cargo throughput.
Source: Port Strategy
A rift has opened up between Auckland Council and the Government over how the future of the city’s port will be decided.
Mayor Phil Goff says there’s a risk that a Government-appointed working group looking at the upper North Island ports might have pre-determined whether Auckland’s council-owned port could move, and if so where.
Goff said he put a “robust” view to the working group’s chair, former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, in a private meeting last week.
He said Brown’s public rejection of two potential locations identified by a council study didn’t give confidence, and the group didn’t appear to have enough time or resources to do a proper job.
The council on Tuesday approved a blunt letter to be sent to Brown, ahead of the council’s first formal meeting with the working group in just over a fortnight.
Goff favoured the eventual shift of the port from its current location on the downtown waterfront, but was unhappy with the approach being taken by the working group.
The council will tell the group that its priorities include protecting the value of Ports of Auckland, which last year paid it a $51.1 million dividend.
It is also telling the working group it wants a transparent, objective and evidence-based approach to reviewing the future of the ports in Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei.
Auckland Council has conducted the most detailed work so far on the future of its port.
Previous mayor Len Brown funded out of his office budget the Port Future Study, which in 2016 found the port might not outgrow its current site in 50 years, but that work should begin on identifying alternatives, in case it did.
Before the 2017 elections New Zealand First advocated an early shift of the vehicle-import trade from Auckland to Northland’s port.
The coalition government including New Zealand First took a bigger picture approach, setting up the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group, in line with a request from Auckland Council.
New Zealand First MP and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones who oversees the working group, has since been vocal on matters relating to the future of Auckland’s port.
At the start of November Jones said he would do all he could to head-off a planned multi-storey carpark building planned by Ports of Auckland, to house vehicles arriving in the port.
“Public statements have created the impression of pre-determination,” said the council in a letter to the chair of the working group Wayne Brown.
Brown has made public comment favouring a move to Northland, including an opinion column published in November 2017 before being appointed to chair the group.
“Imagine the Auckland waterfront without used cars getting the best views,” Brown wrote.
“Watch for self-justifying job-saving promises from Ports of Auckland to fend off any sensible moves like Sydney has made keeping the harbour just for cruise liners and sending cargo to Wollongong and Newcastle.”
The council’s letter pointed to comments by Brown.
“Indicating a strong preference for relocation of some or all of POAL activities to Northport prior to any analysis is unhelpful,” said the letter which Goff will sign.
“Any plans to move all or some of the Port’s functions requires the concurrence of its owners, the people of Auckland, through Auckland Council,” said the letter.
“I’ve already said to the chair, we’ve put a lot of work into two future options (Manukau Harbour and Firth of Thames) and you’ve dismissed this out of hand, which gives us no confidence,” Goff told today’s planning committee meeting.
The council has spelled out 10 areas it wants the working group to examine closely.
These include the feasible capacity of all upper North Island ports, as well as the climate change impacts of moving freight to and from the ports.
It wanted work done on the social and community impacts of any change, and how and when a future new port would be funded.
The council will have its first meeting with the government’s working group on December 13.
Our project to transform Fergusson Terminal which will provide future capacity is well underway and visitors to the port will have seen a lot of activity and changes including civil works, construction workers and sections of tarmac undergoing renewal. What has been happening recently:
Visitors will have seen the new blue “A Strads” now assembled on the north end of the terminal, undergoing a comprehensive range of testing in readiness for Go-Live next year.
The work to upgrade the truck lanes has been completed and the next stage is installing the gates and fences required to keep truck drivers and A Strads separated.
Pre-gate Kiosk Screens
These have been updated. Drivers now need to complete some additional steps at the kiosk. This means that when automation goes live, the drivers will already be familiar with the new system.
The large shiny frames of the new reefer gantries at the southern end of the Fergusson terminal are now complete and sign-off for the reefer operation is expected before the end of this year. In the meantime, we have been able to use the area as valuable stacking space for dry containers.
New Container Cranes
There was a lot of media interest and celebration with the arrival of our three new container cranes on the specialised delivery vessel Zhen Hua 25.
It was a great sight to see them sail into the harbour in the early morning. These cranes, which have quad-lift capacity (they can lift four containers at once), are now in place on Fergusson North Berth and will be commissioned early 2019, after a range of testing required to integrate them into our current systems.
Hatch Platforms have now been installed on all container cranes – these allow the ship’s hatch covers to be stored above the ground, freeing up space around the cranes for container handling.
Lash Platforms In a first for New Zealand, we’re installing lash platforms on all our cranes and our new cranes have them already fitted. This will make stevedores’ job safer, as they can work above ground away from moving straddles.
Rail OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
A frame, fitted with multiple cameras, has been placed over the rail line to capture images and recognise container numbers arriving and leaving by rail. This system provides a high degree of accuracy and enables rail planners to quickly check on any “exceptions”.
Supply Chain Challenges
There are a range of challenges being experienced throughout the supply chain. We are automating Fergusson Terminal to increase capacity and productivity, whilst at the same time experiencing unprecedented volume demand. It is a bit like having heart surgery while playing rugby!
While we’re carrying out the automation work our terminal capacity is actually reduced, putting pressure on our operations especially during peak import season.
We are undertaking this transformation to ensure we are ready to accommodate Auckland’s rapid growth in freight demand. We’ll be able to handle more containers on the same land, but it also means some changes in the way cargo owners and trucking companies interact with the port.
Greater planning and different ways of operating are needed throughout the freight supply chain. The port operates 24/7 and yet the wider supply chain largely works 24/5 at best, and often 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
Extended operational hours are needed at distribution centres, empty depots and importers’ and exporters’ premises to maximise the capacity of the whole supply chain. It is much the same as an internet connection – you’re currently on dial-up and want to upgrade to fibre, but you only get the best speed if you’ve got fibre end-to-end.
We have been engaging with importers, exporters, trucking companies and freight forwarders to discuss the changes and welcome you to make contact to discuss any issues you may have.
Our automation go-live date is late 2019. There are a number of civil, operational, engineering and I.T. projects being undertaken, some of which need to be completed in a specific order and others are more flexible. This means that we are continually adjusting the timing of work. We will keep you updated on progress and changes.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss any ideas or concerns, at any stage.
Ports of Auckland have joined the Climate Leaders Coalition – a collection of business leaders who have each committed to act on climate change.
Ports of Auckland is the first port in the world to make this commitment and the first port in New Zealand to be CEMARS® certified. Joining the coalition contributes to the ports promise to become zero emissions by 2040.
More information on the Climate Leaders Coalition can be found here. Read the CEO Climate Change Statement here.
Ports of Auckland reported a 27 per cent lift in net profit, boosted by some one-off gains and a full year of revenue from its Nexus Logistics and Conlinxx units.
Reported net profit for the year to June 30 was $76.8 million, up from $60.3m the year before. But that included $17.6m for items related to asset valuation changes and impairments, compared to $5.3m in the 2017 year.
Ports of Auckland will pay a dividend of $51.1m to the Auckland Council, slightly down from $51.3m the year before.
Group revenue was $243.2m, up $20.8m. Freight volumes increased and the port benefited from buying out its joint venture partner in Nexus Logistics in May 2017. That brought Conlinxx, which manages Ports of Auckland’s Wiri inland port, back under its control.
The country’s largest port said that container volumes were up 2.2 per cent to the equivalent of 973,722 twenty-foot units, while breakbulk and bulk volumes were up 4.8 per cent to 6.77 million tonnes. The container terminal team delivered an average crane rate of 35.63 moves an hour this year, nearly one move per hour more than in the previous year.
The company said significant progress has been made on the automation of its container terminal, due to go live in the second half of the 2019 calendar year.
It has also completed earth works at the Waikato Freight Hub and started construction of the first freight handling facility for Open Country Dairy.
Road and rail connections will be built during the next 12 months and the hub will open for business by mid-2019, it said.
As a result, capital expenditure was $130.5m, versus $88.2m in the year to June 2016.
“We’re making a significant investment in our people, technology and infrastructure to establish a platform for sustainable future returns, with
Looking ahead, chair Liz Coutts said the risks to the trading environment are similar to last year.
Container shipping lines continue to consolidate, with the top 10 lines globally now accounting for 80 per cent of all container traffic.
In New Zealand, the largest line has captured around 50 per cent of the market and the number of container lines calling at Ports of Auckland is down to eight as a result of mergers and acquisitions.
“We face relentless pressure to increase efficiency and cut costs,” she said.
Coutts said the company is also mindful of the potential threat to the global economy from the rise of protectionism and a possible trade war.
Any global economic slowdown that resulted would probably affect New Zealand and reduce global shipping volumes.
However, “the company is in a good position to weather such an event,” she said.
Construction has started on a major new freight transport hub in Horotiu, north of Hamilton.
Open Country Dairy, New Zealand’s second largest exporter of whole milk power, will be the first tenant at the port and their facility will be up and running by early 2019.
51 Horotiu Road may look like one big paddock right now, but it is set to be an inland port in the Waikato owned by the Ports of Auckland.
Reinhold Goeschl, general manager of supply chain, estimates in five years there will be 300 people working within the hub.
Open Country Dairy (OCD) was the first to sign up. They’ll use one of the warehouses, while the others are yet to be snapped up.
Containers will arrive at the hub full of imported goods to be distributed around the region.
Once emptied, OCD will instantly refill those containers with exports like milk powder to be sent straight back.
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson says it’s taking a cost out of the supply chain.
“By using rail, we’re making it a very sustainable option.”
The inland port is right in the heart of what’s known as the golden triangle, and with the expressway and railways both nearby, moving freight to the three points of that triangle – Hamilton, Auckland and Tauranga – becomes very easy.
But they’ve got some competition just down the road. The Ruakura Inland Port is also under development.
Coming in at just 33 hectares, it has nothing on the OCD’s 480 hectares. Mr Gibson has dismissed the idea of competition.
“Given the migration of business and distribution centres from Auckland, there are significant opportunities for us both.”
Both ports are intended to boost jobs, infrastructure and business in the area.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says the more the merrier.
“We haven’t even tried to go out and sell ourselves yet, it’s just coming to us by the truckload.”