The Port of Milford Haven has posted strong trading results in 2022 following a record-breaking year for its shipping results. The UK’s largest energy port, located in Pembrokeshire, reported profits of £3.3m last year, up from £1.5m in 2021.
It also saw turnover rise by 59% to £39.4m in 2022 (from £24.8m in 2021), with £1.9m operating profit also up from £1.3m. This, the Port said, was due to increased demand for pilotage services from its gas and oil terminal customers, such as South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG.
The Port reported a record-breaking year for cargo volume entering the port which increased by 28% to 38.9m tonnes (based on provisional data supplied by the Department for Transport). This was largely down to a surge in dues paying ships to the terminals on the Haven, the Port said. While cash flow generated from operations remained at good levels of £13.9m in 2022 from £6.1m in 2021.
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Wales’ busiest port, the Port of Milford Haven handles around 20% of Britain’s seaborne trade in oil and gas. It owns and operates Pembroke Port and Milford Waterfront and manages activities such as cargo handling, ferry operations, fish landing and cruise calls.
However, the port services side of the business recorded mixed results, with volumes at the ferry terminal and fish docks remaining low post-Brexit. Ferry terminal demand was lower in the year due to freight levels though there was a slight recovery in the number of passengers.
Pembroke Port generally saw improved business activity in the year. This was due to major projects at the South Hook LNG Terminal and the Valero Pembroke Refinery, and some offshore energy projects requiring berth and laydown space.
In terms of investment activity, the Port said it had made progress with work on the £60m Pembroke Dock Marine project, part of the Swansea Bay City Deal, to support the commercialisation of tidal, wind and wave and create a base for offshore marine renewable energy companies.
In August 2022, work had started to redesign sections of the dockyards at Pembroke Port. The initial works will see office and workshop spaces, an enlarged slipway, new pontoons and 17,000 m2 of laydown space completed by the end of 2023.
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In terms of its real estate investment portfolio, the Port’s retail and hospitality tenants at Havens Head Retail Park and Milford Waterfront reported good recovery from the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 100-bedroom Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront has had more than 35,000 guests and created 60 jobs since opening in April 2022.
The Port’s chief executive Tom Sawyer said: “2022 was a great year for the Port which meant we were able to continue with our investment strategy across our estate but also enable our customers and tenants to benefit from the additional commercial activity. I’m pleased to report that we had no Lost Time Incidents and carried out several exercises throughout the year to ensure our response to pollution, safety and security incidents are tested and refined.”
The Port of Milford Haven is also part of the Celtic Freeport consortium bid which was awarded freeport status in March this year, in joint partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, and Associated British Ports at Port Talbot. Work is now underway to submit a final business case to both the UK and Welsh Governments later this year.
Mr Sawyer said: “There were many examples of how collaboration resulted in success for us and our stakeholders, the standout being the success of the Celtic Freeport bid. The opportunity this presents for the region is very exciting and I am particularly proud of how the team at the Port has made the case for a freeport in an area blessed with the natural resources needed to reach Net-Zero.”
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