OPERATING profits of €1.9 million for 2018 were announced by The Port of Waterford its year-end financial, an increase of 12% on 2017. Turnover in 2018 was €8m, up from €7.6m in the prior year.
Shareholders funds stood at €32.7m at the year-end and the company is to pay a dividend of €330,000 to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Bulk throughput at the port in Belview, Co Kilkenny over the year amounted to 1.7m tonnes, a 28% increase on 2017 which had itself seen a 27% increase over 2016.
Containers handled grew by 3% while there was strong breakbulk activity including, for example, shipments of steel and timber. This traffic reflects increased economic activity, including in the construction sector.
Commenting on the figures, Frank Ronan, Chief Executive, Port of Waterford, said: “the year 2018 was another excellent trading year for the port. Buoyancy in the agri-foods sector continued to drive strong demand for fertiliser and feedstuffs.
“There was also a spike in demand for imported animal feed in 2018 because of the poor weather in early 2018.
“However, we anticipate this sector will continue to perform strongly, supported by significant new private sector investment in storage facilities in the Belview Industrial Zone.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Mr Ronan said: “We are currently drafting a master-plan that will be the first ever to take a 25-year view of where the port needs to go to fulfill its potential as a huge enabler of regional and national economic growth. That will be out for public consultation in early summer and the final plan will map out our development to the mid-2040s.”
Des Whelan, Chairman, Port of Waterford, said: “As the economy continues to perform well, activity at the port naturally reflects that as one of the main routes for goods entering and leaving the country. However, the 2018 performance also owes a lot to the strong team Frank Ronan leads as CEO. As a board, we were pleased to approve the payment of a dividend to the department as our shareholder on behalf of Government.”
He said it was very encouraging that the first quarter of 2019 had continued the positive trend and was ahead of the first three months of last year.