Foyle Port turnover reaches £7m for first time
FOYLE Port in Derry has reported record turnover of £7 million.
And the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners said the facility handled trade valued at around £1 billion over the year to March 2016.
The organisations annual report was published at its annual general meeting today in which it said the performance had benefited from "significant contributions" from each of its business divisions.
Turnover although up was relatively flat while operating profits declined 5.7 per cent to £1.4m.
Foyle Port chairwoman Bonnie Anley said it had been "an excellent trading year which has seen the organisation move strongly into our new five-year strategic planning cycle".
“Our core business had a strong performance for the year with an increase in vessels facilitated and a number of new cargoes handled, including woodchip and concrete blocks," she said.
"Overall the 1.7 million tonnes handled represent a total value – verified by independent experts – in the order of £1bn.
“Overall record turnover of £7m was achieved in line with our strategic targets with all profits reinvested.”
The port’s direct workforce rose to 77 during the year (against 70 in 2015) which included the integration of a new team of five apprentices.
The company invested £1.9m in port assets and infrastructure including the first payment for a new harbour tug, which will be delivered during the 2016-17 financial year and represent a total investment by the commissioners of £4m.
It said the new tug would safeguard the marine operations of Foyle Port "well into the future".
The commissioners said a further £1m had been committed for additional infrastructure and development of the harbour estate’s land bank to facilitate growth – including initial work on its vision to see a new cruise terminal built in Lough Foyle to transform tourism in the region.
Foyle Port chief executive Brian McGrath said: “As a key regional gateway and a significant employer that supports an estimated 1,000 jobs, Foyle Port has a vital role to play in the future of the north-west region.
“The port continues to play a significant part in the business life in the city and the north-west region on both sides of the border. Securing funding for the feasibility study for a new cruise terminal will be a priority for the year ahead.”
He added that a robust organisational balance sheet is vital as the port looks to address customer concerns following the UK's vote to leave the EU and the resulting political uncertainty.