Port of Waterford is reporting operating profits for 2020 of €0.7 million, down from the €1.2 million recorded in 2019 during a period of trading set against the pandemic.
The Port's turnover was €7.2m for the year a reduction of 8% against 2019 and shareholder’s funds ended the year at €33m.
Bulk throughput in 2020 came in at 1.5 million tonnes, a 3% decrease on 2019, while the levels of container shipment handled grew by 2%.
The company said that for the first half of 2021, the business is showing very positive momentum despite the continued challenges posed by the pandemic in the ability to drive car park and cruise income. Bulk handling is currently ahead of 2020 by over 20% at this year’s halfway point and container handling is also holding up well and in-line with 2020 levels.
Citing the impact of the pandemic on two key areas of business for the Port, Chief Executive Frank Ronan said, "The absence of parking income, all Covid related, and to a lesser extent the cessation of all Cruise business, again Covid related, were the main drivers of the reduction in performance experienced during 2020. Despite this, overall performance has remained profitable and crucially, our team has kept the show on the road and played their part in keeping supply chains open, which has been key over the eighteen months."
Discussing the current levels of business for the company, Mr Ronan says, "The first six months of this year have gone reasonably well. We are still missing car park and cruise revenue, but overall, we are satisfied with the levels of business performance. The Port is in a strong cash position and we see plenty of positives in the market. The under-utilisation of the container terminal capacity remains both our main challenge and a major opportunity. The imminent return of rail freight services at the end of the month is eagerly awaited."
Frank Ronan concluded by noting the strong interest being expressed by Cruise Companies in visiting Waterford Harbour during 2022 and 2023, stating, "We look forward to working closely with the local Cruise Co-operative and Dunmore East Fishery Harbour to deliver more business for our region’s tourism and hospitality operators. This potential upswing is particularly welcome following on from what has been a really difficult time for this sector."