Strikes hit Ports of Auckland profit

Ports of Auckland has posted a 16.6 per cent fall in interim net profit as it felt the sting of ongoing industrial action last year.

The port booked an unaudited net profit after tax of $15.5 million, compared to $18.6m in the previous six months to December.

Revenue from port operations fell 5.8 per cent to $90.1m, which was attributed partly to a 8.9 per cent decline in container volumes.

Chief executive Tony Gibson said volumes were down because of the loss of business and services during waterside worker unrest in late 2011 and early 2012. The port lost much of its Fonterra business and a weekly call by a major shipping line.

"As an example, we lost 123,600 TEU [20-foot-equivalent units, a measure of container volume] per annum when the Maersk Southern Star service shifted to Tauranga in December 2011."

Although the watersiders have since returned to work, the protracted row has yet to be resolved between the parties and the Employment Relations Authority.

The port said comparisons with the previous period were also affected by a boost from the Rugby World Cup and the Rena salvage operation in 2011.

Total container volumes fell to 413,884, with a 5.4 per cent drop in full import containers and a 9.2 per cent decline in full export containers.

However, "break-bulk" non-containerised cargo volumes were up 6.5 per cent to 2.02 million tonnes. Vehicle volumes rose 1 per cent.

Ports of Auckland's port operating costs, excluding depreciation fell by 1.9 per cent or $1.1m.