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30 September 2020

Port Nelson continues to progress amid a challenging year

Port Nelson has released its 2020 Annual Report which shows the Port’s increasing strength and sustainability in the 2020 financial year amid a series of challenges. The most significant of these was the impact of COVID-19 on cargo volumes, operating costs, and the Main Wharf re-development project.

The Port’s total cargo for the 2020 financial year was 3.3 million Revenue Tonnes (RTs), down 12% on budget and down 15% on the 2019 financial year. Our container volumes were 116,162 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), down 5% on budget and 3% on last year. Hugh Morrison, CEO of Port Nelson says, “we saw an outstanding response by exporters in Te Tauihu, who did a courageous job adjusting to the challenges of COVID-19 and kept exports flowing”.

Apples and kiwifruit had a strong year, reflecting what was a bumper harvest in Tasman. Overseas demand for wine increased in the 2020 financial year, which was reflected due to strong harvests in 2019 and 2020, as well as a growing realisation of cost efficiencies, quality, and environmental benefits of the QuayConnect service between Marlborough and the Port.

Logs made up approximately 30% of the volume across the Port, well down on the record high of the previous year due in part to the dramatic increase in the export of logs from central Europe as a result of a beetle infestation, as well as the close down of the forestry industry during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Port’s carbon emissions are influenced by the highly variable trade volumes. Consequently, carbon emissions are well down on 2019. Pleasingly emissions are also down 5% down on the 2017 year, where volumes were at a similar level.  

The Port continues its commitment to be zero carbon by 2050, this target has been embedded in the Port’s revised Environment Policy. Other environmental initiatives include: the ongoing electrification of the Port’s small vehicle fleet, retained ISO 14001 certification for the Port’s environmental management system, purchased a new crane to improve efficiencies as well as improved results in noise reduction, and recycling of packing used in the transportation of wine.

Adapting to COVID-19 has dominated much of the Port’s year from a people and safety perspective. “As essential workers the Port was aware of the privilege of having steady work, while also carrying the risks of working at a Port receiving first call international vessels” says Hugh. The Port implemented and continues to have strict work practices in place to ensure the safety of the Port’s people and the Te Tauihu (Top of the South Island) community from exposure to COVID-19.

The Port’s purpose is ‘to facilitate regional prosperity, Kia āhei ki te kōkiri whakamua ki te taumata ā-rohe’. In 2020 the Port completed a study through BERL into the wider impact of the Port on the community, this demonstrated that the Port facilitates the employment either directly or indirectly of 31% of people working in Te Tauihu. Beyond the economic contribution, the Port actively supported the region through sponsorship initiatives. The Port distributed more than $100,000 to various community organisations and initiatives including marine activities, charity events, sports teams, the business sector, and staff sponsorships.

The Port continues its work on the resilience of the Port with its capital works programme addressing both natural disasters as well as economic resilience.  These works include the re-development of Main Wharf North which is progressing well and is due for completion early 2021, a new tug, a replacement crane, and proposed dredging to help enable the safe passage of ships into the harbour.

2020 saw revenue down 9% on budget at $66.7 million and Net Profit After Tax down 25% on budget at $8.2 million. However, the Port was pleased to declare a full-year dividend of $4 million for the 2020 financial year. This is in addition to a special dividend of $0.8 million paid earlier in the year arising from the 2019 year’s performance.

After 20 years of service, Phil Lough stepped down as Chair of the Port Nelson Board. Phil whas been succeeded by Geoff Dangerfield. Tim King also stepped down from the board earlier in the year as a result of his election to Mayor of Tasman District Council. New Directors joining the board are Jon Safey and Paul Zealand.

In the 2020 Annual Report the Port have taken the opportunity to look over its history. “It is important to remember the legacy and responsibility that this Port has in developing and sustaining the Te Tauihu community” says Hugh. Port Nelson’s 2020 Annual Report is available to view on Port Nelson’s website.



Highlights of the report to shareholders are:

  • Revenue of $66.7 million
  • Operating profit of $20.9 million
  • Overall net profit after taxation of $8.2 million
  • Shareholder Equity as % of total assets is 70.2%
  • Total cargo volumes of 3.3 million tonnes
  • Container volumes of 116,162 TEU
  • Full declared dividend of $4 million (and an additional $0.8 million paid earlier in the year) 

Media enquiries, please contact:

Hugh Morrison - CEO - 027 588 7450

Daryl Wehner – Chief Financial Officer – 021 829 320