Falling cargo volumes into South Port have been offset by increases in revenues from the company's cold storage business.
South Port has recorded a first half net profit of $2.9m, slightly higher than last year's interim result of $2.54m.
The interim report says cargo activity for the six months was 1,268,000 tonnes, down nine percent on last year's record of 1,390,000 tonnes, reflecting weaker export activity globally.
However, the decline was offset by volume gains for fertiliser, stock food and fish, the report says.
South Port chief executive Mark O'Connor said the company was pleased with the interim result in what had been a challenging first half.
The growth in cold storage revenue supported the company's strategy of broadening its cold storage business following the acquisition last year of Southland Cool Stores. The company had successfully integrated the cool stores business with its existing Island Harbour cold storage operations, he said.
The results also supported the company's plans to develop a 5900sqm dry warehouse at the west end of the Island Harbour for bulk cargoes such as stock feed and fertiliser. The warehouse, which is presently under construction, is expected to be operational in March.
Plans were also being made to establish a packing and upacking operation on land next to the Invercargill railhead, he said.
Full year earnings were estimated to fall between $6m and $6.4m, up slightly on last year's results of $5.9m, Mr O'Connor said.
An interim dividend of 6.5cents a share would be payable on March 4, with the company aiming for a full-year payout of 20 cents a share.
- The Southland Times