Port profit: Trade grows despite COVID

PORT of Townsville Ltd has delivered strong financial results, while rolling out major infrastructure investments, despite the impacts of COVID-19, its annual report shows.

It has also boosted trade, with a total of 8.2 million tonnes of freight passing over the wharves in 2019-20, a 6.5 per cent increase on the previous year.

The State-owned port reported net profit of $13.87m, down from $15.96m previously, and with a dividend of $13.51m paid to government.

The growth in trade was primarily driven by exports of mineral concentrates (up 17%), fertiliser (up 25%) and livestock (up 32%).

The handling of 388,296 cattle made Townsville Australia's largest live export port.

At Lucinda port, 588,417 tonnes of sugar was exported, while at Townsville port, exports of sugar from the Burdekin increased 11 per cent to 1,277,885 tonnes.

The port continued to invest in projects which are providing jobs, improving efficiencies and building the foundation for further growth.

The projects include the $193m channel upgrade, the largest infrastructure project in the port's history. Works are well advanced on a 2.2km rock wall to create a 62ha reclamation area where spoil from the upgrade will be used.

In other projects, work is nearing completion on a $30m Berth 4 Ship-to-Shore Crane and Cargo Area to grow container trade.

Also, a secondary wharf on Berth 10 is being extended for larger car ships and a $4.5m truck staging area is being built on Benwell Rd to reduce congestion and improve safety.

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the port team, customers and logistics partners worked closely together to ensure supply chains stayed open during the pandemic.

``This has been a year unlike any other but it was a testament to our employees, customers and supply chain partners who worked together to keep the economy moving and keep people in jobs,'' Ms Crosby said.

She said the port provided community support from donating food vouchers to making meals at community charity hubs and funding to seafarers, while supporting businesses with hardship arrangements and rental relief.

Ms Crosby said the growth of the port was crucial to the economy, jobs and the future of North Queensland.

"We are also acutely aware of our location within the sensitive Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. We are investing $17 million over the next five years in programs to protect and enhance our surrounding environment," Ms Crosby said.

tony.raggatt@news.com.au

Originally published as Port profit: Trade grows despite COVID



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