Aerial image of Port Nelson. Photo: Supplied.

Port Nelson’s strong profits point to strong region

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The strength of Port Nelson’s financial result is a reflection of a regional economy in good heart, says the port’s chief executive.

Port Nelson last week reported a net profit after tax of $14 million, after increasing its revenue 15 per cent to $67.2 million for the financial year.

The port’s boss Martin Byrne says that cargo volumes were strong across the board, but it relied heavily on forestry, fish, fuel and fruit.

“There are various industries that have done very well … we are just the gateway, we just facilitate the movement of those products.”

Martin says there was some pressures related to storage this year, but the port has worked to increase its capacity. This included finishing off the remediation of the contaminated Caldwell Slipway area which provide an additional 5,000m2 of log storage space.

Martin says log exports have doubled over the last three years as demand from China increased.

As trade within the United States remained strained under the present administration, that business had increasingly gone to New Zealand, he says.

The growth of wine exports had also been strong with the company’s Quay Connect initiative, which helped create New Zealand’s largest on-port wine storage facility, helping create that.

At the company’s annual general meeting last Wednesday, Port Nelson chairman Phil Lough announced a further $1.5m dividend payment would be made to shareholders in addition to the full year declared dividend of $5.5m.

Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council each own 50 per cent of the port.

Martin says the result is pleasing for him, but he was just part of a team.

“At the end of the day we’ve have some amazing people and without the support of importers and exporters we would be nothing.”