Record profit at Shannon Foynes Port last year
Turnover and throughput down in 2019 at country’s largest bulk port for non-container freight
State-owned Shannon Foynes Port: it achieved a record profit before tax of €4.9m last year
State-owned Shannon Foynes Port achieved a record profit before tax of €4.9 million last year, its annual report shows.
The profit, which was up from €4.4 million in 2018, was achieved despite an overall reduction in tonnages on the year before.
The facility, which is the country’s largest bulk port for non-container freight, pointed out that 2018 was a record year for tonnage throughput due to elevated agricultural inputs arising from the drought-imposed fodder crisis.
Turnover decreased by 4.6 per cent to just under €14 million, down from €14.7 million in 2018.
Year-on-year overall tonnage throughput decreased by 10 per cent to 9.6 million tonnes, with reduced imports of coal for electricity generation accounting for most of this reduction.
The report shows that since 2011 – the base year of the company’s masterplan, Vision 2041 – tonnage at Shannon Foynes Port’s general cargo terminals has increased by 56 per cent.
Speaking on the publication of the report, chief executive Pat Keating said that while there would be short-term tonnage losses due to the reduction in fossil fuel imports, particularly the ending of coal imports for electricity generation stations, the global move to address climate change created an “unprecedented growth opportunity” for the company and region.
“The natural deep waters of the Shannon Estuary, making it ideal for industry, combined with what are among the world’s most reliable winds off the west coast, is creating the perfect opportunity for the region to become an international green energy hub facilitating offshore floating wind development.”
In the report Mr Keating said that Foynes recorded its second highest tonnage throughputs ever, while Limerick Port continues to facilitate near historically high throughputs.
“A positive consequence of our performance in recent years, including for 2019, is that we are now much less reliant on third-party terminals for profit and cashflow generation,” he said.
“For example, five years ago third-party terminals accounted for circa 75 per cent of operating profit, where today this proportion has reduced to less than 25 per cent.”
In order to continue the upward growth trajectory of its own terminals, the company has committed more resources to business development and will continue to invest in capacity enhancing infrastructure.
Shannon Foynes Port chairman David McGarry said he believed Brexit can help the port play a much greater role in moving freight to Europe and beyond than heretofore, rather than through the UK.
He said this could help alleviate the transport congestion around Dublin and redistribute economic wellbeing throughout the country.