8 Nov 2013

Port credits storms for export boom

3:16 pm on 8 November 2013

Lyttleton Port is crediting spring storms in Canterbury for a boom in log exports.

The listed company held its annual meeting in Christchurch on Friday morning and said the port has posted an after tax profit of $16.9 million for the past financial year.

Chief executive Peter Davie has told shareholders the port's financial future is looking strong with coal from Bathurst Resources' new mine on the West Coast expected to come through in the next six months.

Oil imports to fuel demolition machinery in Christchurch are up by 10%.

Mr Davie says the port is expecting a windfall from an additional 200,000 tons of log exports.

"Logs last year were up by 31 percent and thanks to a very volatile spring, we're expecting a huge increase in logs over the next year. We're still trying to get a handle on exactly what volume that will be."

Mr Davie also unveiled plans to expand the port's reclaimed land area using earthquake rubble by another 20 hectares, growing the area to a total of 30 hectares.

Millions from insurance claims

The directors of Lyttelton Port says the company is on track to making one of the largest insurance claims in Australasian history.

Despite extensive damage in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the port has never publicly announced how much it has claimed from its insurers.

However, chairman Trevor Burt told shareholders on Friday it has been paid just over $53 million but is preparing to fight for the remainder of what it is owed.

He says uncertainty remains over the extent to which insurer will pay for the port's rebuilding programme because it is signalling there is a limit to its liability.

Mr Burt says the port's reinstatement plan will cost $465 million, but will not comment on how much of that will be from an insurance payout. The company will meet with Vero for three days of negotiation in December.