4 Sep 2013

Port makes record $38 million profit

9:30 pm on 4 September 2013

Port Otago has announced a record profit of $38 million.

The port company, which is owned by the Otago Regional Council, released its annual report at a council meeting on Wednesday morning.

Pre-tax operating profit rose by more than a quarter to $21.3 million and the value of the company's property investments in Dunedin jumped by $18.3 million.

Agricultural exports from Otago's hinterland are up, as well as those from Timaru where major ships ceased to call last year.

Board chair David Faulkner says Otago producers sent more refrigerated produce and log exports have been high for a second year in a row.

The company has also markedly improved its health and safety record.

Mr Faulkner says a possible business threat comes from a recent investment by Port of Tauranga in the Timaru port but it is too early to know what impact that will have.

The council says it is pleased and proud of the record profit. Chairperson Stephen Woodhead says the result is outstanding in a year when there have been a lot of infrastructure upgrades.

Mr Woodhead says the most pleasing part is the region's productivity growth and the way the port is handling its growing exports.

He says the port's project to deepen the shipping channel for larger ships is ready to go and it is in a fabulous position for the future.