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Car imports spike, Kingston Wharves gears up for more business

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Kingston Wharves Limited benefited in the first quarter from a double-digit rise in motor vehicles passing through its port, and expects the trajectory to be maintained for the remainder of the financial year.

Domestic container and trans-shipment motor unit volumes both grew by 20 per cent, while domestic motor units realised a 64 per cent increase over the prior year, said Chairman Jeffrey Hall in a statement to shareholders.

Port activity gives a glimpse into Jamaica's import-led economy and its consumption patterns.

The rise in port activity aided Kingston Wharves' delivery of 49 per cent higher profit for the March quarter, at $279.8 million from revenues of $1.2 billion.

The company indicated that despite the uncertainties in the Jamaican and international business environment, the group remains poised for future business.

Aim to maintain lead

"The completion of our state-of-the-art Total Logistics Facility; world-class information technology infrastructure; enhanced cost management; and the commitment of our team and stakeholders will allow us to maintain our position as the leading multipurpose and multi-user terminal in the Caribbean," Hall said.

The cash-rich port company now sits on $3.3 billion in cash, up $560 million year-on-year.

In January, Kingston Wharves revised its segment reporting to reflect just two key operating units - now termed 'terminal operations' and 'logistics and ancillary services'. Terminal operations generated revenues of $943 million, with significant contributions coming from increases in domestic container and motor units.

"Kingston Wharves anticipates continued growth in this key segment for the remainder of 2016 as we perfect both our business development and marketing strategies and continue to gain greater operational efficiencies," Kingston Wharves said.

The logistics and ancillary services segment registered total revenue of $257 million.

During the quarter, the company spent another $77 million on its multi-stage upgrade programme.