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CentrePort posts $35.7m loss after quake

NZN 1/03/2017 Tina Morrison

CentrePort, the Wellington port operator, reported a loss in the first half of its financial year due to damage from November's Kaikoura earthquake, which it described as the biggest adverse event in its history.

The port company turned to a loss of $35.7 million in the six months ended December 31, from a profit of $4.6m in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement.

The company said revenue had been tracking "strongly ahead" of the year earlier prior to the earthquake but ended the period 3.2 per cent lower at $34.4m.

The latest result includes $68.7m of asset impairments, excluding land, due to the earthquake, and a $20.4m hit to value of its property.

The company said it had received $54.2m in insurance proceeds to date, and expected additional funds in the second half of the year to bolster its annual result.

CentrePort was forced to suspend operations immediately following the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake as it dealt with damage to its buildings and liquefaction.

Since then it has been able to modify its operations to resume many key services such as ferries, oil terminals, logs, break bulk cargo and cruise shipping.

Chief executive Derek Nind said on Wednesday that good progress is being made on the recovery.

The port's container business, which typically accounts for 40-to-45 per cent of revenue, was hurt after its gantry cranes were made inoperable by the earthquake.

It resumed a regular container service in mid-February thanks to weekly visits from an ANL ship able to drop off and pick up containers with its own cranes.

"We were recently pleased to announce the resumption of regular container services at CentrePort using geared ships, with more services expected soon," Mr Nind said.

He said the port operator is in the midst of one of its busiest cruise seasons, and is also seeing strong volumes of other key trades such as cars and logs.

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