The growth in cargo and shipping traffic for Ports of Auckland in the six months to December was countered by the capital spend on advancing facilities.
The company had a profit for the six months of $29.2 million, which was marginally below the corresponding period last year of $29.3 M.
Ports of Auckland is advancing construction facilities at some of its port facilities that will create shopping and business rental facilities.
The company, which is the second largest port operator after Ports of Tauranga, handled slightly more containers at 508,262 while cruise ship visits were up by more than half to 42 because of an increase in visits in September and October.
Chief executive Tony Gibson told Radio New Zealand the company had a significant capital expenditure programme underway to increase capacity and develop freight hubs in South Auckland and Waikato.
“Auckland is growing by around 50,000 people a year and is expected to have a population of two million people by 2028,” he said.
Radio NZ said the Government has started a plan of shipping facilities in the upper North Island, with a feasibility study of a potential shift of the port to Northland.
NZ Resources has pointed out that the Northland push was first generated by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters during the recent election campaign and is being pushed now by Minister for Regional Development, fellow NZ First MP Shane Jones.
Gibson said regardless of the future, it still needed to invest now.
“In the interim, additional investment is needed so the port can handle the increased demand for freight that will come from this population growth.”
Ports of Auckland will reportedly pay its owner, Auckland Council, a slightly lower dividend of $23.8 M. The result, Radio NZ said, was smaller than what was reported by Port of Tauranga, which made $47.1m and handled 591,000 containers in the same six months.
Sources: radionz.co.nz and nzresources.com