Port ear­marks $63m for land up­grade

Marlborough Express - - BUSINESS - CHLOE WIN­TER

Port com­pany Cen­trePort Welling­ton has set aside $63 mil­lion to strengthen its land on Welling­ton’s wa­ter­front after Novem­ber’s 7.8-mag­ni­tude quake caused sig­nif­i­cant dam­age.

The com­pany, owned by Welling­ton and Manawatu ratepay­ers, is now con­sult­ing in­ter­na­tional ex­perts to help fig­ure out what the work will be.

To date, Cen­trePort has spent $28m se­cur­ing 125 me­tres of the 585-me­tre wharf, which in­cluded 644 gravel col­umns be­ing set in the ground to re­duce any liq­ue­fac­tion from fu­ture earth­quakes and pro­vide re­silience.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Derek Nind said the com­pany was now look­ing at how to do that across the en­tire port.

‘‘We try not to talk about re­build – we talk about re­gen­er­a­tion. And what do I mean by that? What I mean is if we go to re­build, we’ll get what we had, which was 20th-cen­tury as­sets and 20th-cen­tury think­ing,’’ Nind said.

‘‘What we need is 21st-cen­tury as­sets for the next 50 to 100 years, and we need to re­gen­er­ate the port.’’

To date, Cen­trePort has re­ceived $173.7m of in­sur­ance in­come, but that fig­ure was ex­pected to rise.

‘‘We got hit, but we’ve been work­ing hard on get­ting the busi­ness back up and run­ning,’’ Nind said.

On Tues­day, in­sur­ers agreed Welling­ton of­fice build­ing Sta­tis­tics House, owned by Cen­trePort, should be de­mol­ished, as the Kaiko¯ura earth­quake caused the par­tial col­lapse of two floors.

Mean­while, the fu­ture of Cen­trePor­towned BNZ Har­bour Quays re­mains un­cer­tain, as en­gi­neers con­tinue with as­sess­ments. The build­ing has been reval­ued to $73m, based on its re­paired state, which is down from $98m prior to the quake.

Cen­trePort’s un­der­ly­ing profit, after tax and be­fore earth­quake-re­lated in­come, was $8.6m for the year end­ing June 2017. This was down $4.7m from the pre­vi­ous year.

Cen­trePort chair­man Lachie John­stone said the board was pleased by the fi­nan­cial re­sults and the progress the com­pany had made.

‘‘The re­sults show us in­vest­ing in the port’s re­silience. They also show strong un­der­ly­ing per­for­mance.’’

Cen­trePort Welling­ton chief ex­ec­u­tive Derek Nind says the com­pany is fo­cused on build­ing a 21st-cen­tury port.

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