Gladstone Ports Corporation's record-breaking year

AS GLADSTONE struggles to break free from the economic downturn in the resources sector, Gladstone Ports Corporation recorded a boost to both its output and total revenue over the last financial year.

Despite the big drop in the price of coal and a flood of cheap steel from China that hit the global market this year, GPC managed to squeeze out a juicy sounding $478.9 million in total revenue.


A pontoon for the new Tug Harbour facility is unloaded at Auckland Point Wharf.

Photo Contributed / GPC
A pontoon for the new Tug Harbour facility is unloaded at Auckland Point Wharf. Photo Contributed / GPC Contributed

And although the Port is still not taking in as much revenue as it did during the booming years, in what must be a positive sign for the town, GPC increased its revenue for the year by $25.9 million.

This year the Port's total Earnings Before Interest and Tax was $150 million, with $405.8 million in dividends.

The Port also set a record for how much tonnage it handled, hitting 116.7Mt which was above target, considerably higher than last year and occurred even with the closure of the Barney Point Terminal in May.

In GPC's annual report chairman Leo Zussino attributed the record-breaking levels of trade to the commencement of LNG exports and Wiggins Island Coal Terminal completing its first full year of operation.

"LNG exports exceeded 12Mt, a figure expected to almost double when all production trains on Curtis Island come on line by December 2016," Mr Zussino said.

However, Mr Zussino did say the Port was confronted with number of significant challenges throughout the year.

"Coal exporters have been facing the worst industry conditions for decades due to low prices and a stubbornly high exchange rate," he said. "Also, an oversupply of steel in China has significantly dampened the predicted rise in metallurgical coal exports to India.

"Challenges have also been faced on Gladstone Harbour (with increased vessel movements putting) pressure on ship scheduling and vessel movement control," he said.

In order to help coal exporters through the year, GPC reduced its terminal charges and plans to reduce them further over this financial year.

"GPC is working closely with all partners in the coal supply chain to continue to improve efficiency and reduce costs," Mr Zussino said.

The total number of injuries increased this year to 86, which is up 25 on last year and something Mr Zussino said he wanted to "quickly reverse".

He also expected to finalise funding with the LNG industry for the next stage of development at East Shores.