By Tina Morrison
Wellington's port operator CentrePort has lifted first-half profit 48 percent.
Profit from continuing operations increased to $4.6 million in the six months to December 31, from $3.1m the year earlier, is said.
The company wrote down the value of its financial instruments held for hedging purposes by $693,000, compared with a $3.2m reduction in value in the year earlier period.
Its revenue rose 3.4 per cent to $35.5m, while operating expenses increased 3.7 per cent to $28.6m. Container volumes through the port rose 18 per cent while log volumes increased 12 per cent.
New Zealand's biggest ports are racing to tie up the nation's flow of freight, via inland hubs, alliances and partnerships with transport companies.
The Wellington port operator last year expanded its reach, opening a new container terminal in Whanganui and has a relationship with state-owned KiwiRail to transport containers across central New Zealand.
The port wants to deepen its shipping channel to accommodate larger vessels and more cargo and is developing a regional rail hub in the Wairarapa to better link with the region's fast growing forestry industry.
It secured a new international shipping service in November to take goods from central New Zealand directly to the Americas and Europe, dubbed the "Panama service".
Chief executive Derek Nind said the company is well positioned for growth and aims to be the port of choice for central New Zealand.
The company, jointly owned by the Wellington Regional Council and the Horizons Regional Council, will pay a first-half dividend of $2.6m, unchanged from the year earlier period.