Ports of Auckland to increase price, volumes to deliver $1b profits to council

The sale of a long-term lease for Ports of Auckland will not go ahead.

Instead, as part of a new deal, the port has committed to $1 billion in profits to Auckland Council over the next decade.

A new tripartite agreement has been reached where port land, assets, and operations will be retained under council ownership.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Roger Gray said handing back Captain Cook Wharf and Marsden Wharf to council would cost more than $70 million.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown also negotiated public access to parts of Bledisloe Wharf – where all the imported cars are currently unloaded – as a shared space for public use and cruises.

Gray said over the next three years, “we are looking to making in excess of $100m a year”.

There were a few different levers and it would be a combination of increased pricing and growing volumes.

He said the peak access charge was likely to increase from $95 per container to about $295 in the next three years.

“[You can] expect to see our pricing be very close in line with the pricing in New South Wales,” he said.

He told Checkpoint this year the company was on track to make more than $52m but needed to double its efforts.

“The first is we’re going to grow volume. We’ve seen great growth in cruise and cars. But also we’ve seen significant market share come back from the Port of Tauranga in containers as we’ve started to get our operations back to where we were pre-automation.

“And secondly, we’ve been quite open about this, we are going to continue to take price.”

He said the Ports had seen a double-digit growth in imports and exports in the last year.

“We’ll continue to hold that. We think that’s volume share that’s come back.

“We’re up year on year about 2 percent total container volume.”

There were no penalties if the Ports did not keep up to its end of the bargain.

“It’s a memorandum of understanding, not a contract as such. We’re still working through on what we’re going to do, but we’re committed to delivering these numbers and we will.”

Maritime Union Auckland secretary Grant Williams said he was relieved the mayor had changed his mind.

“Especially in this time now with what’s going on everywhere else [in the public sector], to know that people recognise your place of work and that the work you do is valuable and necessary … those things matter,” he said.

He said the union was satisfied with the result, even if it took a lot of pushing.

“We involved ourselves, so I’m satisfied with our own efforts,” he said.

“We made something happen, through organising and getting support from people. We’re happy with the result.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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