Port of Cork performance ‘reasonable’ after return to profit amid traffic hike

THE Port of Cork Company has labelled its 2010 performance “reasonable”, after returning to profit and recording a solid increase in both turnover and traffic.

According to the company’s latest annual report, the port posted a pre-tax profit of just over €2.23m last year; a strong turnaround from a pre-tax loss of €5.51m in 2009. Furthermore, after-tax profits came in at €2.11m — up from a 2009 post-tax loss of €4.93m. Operating profit went from €1.5m to just over €2m; while turnover was up from €20.8m to €22m.

“Despite a reasonable increase of 5.6% in turnover, the Port of Cork has had to take a closer look at the company’s current business practices, to ensure more efficient work practices and better control of costs. An increase in exports by 9.7% compared to 2009 shows some areas are returning to growth and this is positive for the region,” chairman Dermot O’Mahoney said.

Total traffic through the port last year amounted to 8.8 million tonnes (about 5 million of which was oil-related traffic handled by the Conoco-Phillips-owned Whitegate Oil Refinery), which represented an 8.5% year-on-year increase. Trade increases were most notable in the areas of oil traffic, animal feedstuffs, fertilisers, salt, coal, trade cars, zinc exports and roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) traffic. Such increases, the company said, indicate signs of recovery in the economy.

Cork Port also hosted 52 cruise liners last year, bringing over 100,000 people to the city and county and boosting the local economy.

The port company said the increase in this business segment has been as a direct result of it investing in upgrading Cobh Cruise Terminal.

The target is to reach 75 cruise liner dockings per year over the coming five years.

The company added that it is confident that “viable new port facilities” can be delivered after its Strategic Development Plan concluded that Ringaskiddy should be the location for future port facilities.

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