Kingston Wharves’ business is rebounding following the slowdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. KWL achieved consolidated revenues of $4 billion. This represents a 17% or $562 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2021.
Net profit attributable to shareholders of $1.3 billion was up 22% relative to the prior year. Earnings per share for the period was 89.2 cents compared to 72.9 cents in prior year.
The Terminal Operations division generated operating revenue of $3 billion for the six-month period, an increase of 13% over the corresponding period of the prior year. Divisional profits also increased by 8% from $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion year-on-year.
The Terminal division remains the largest revenue generating segment of the Group, contributing 78% of revenues.
Kingston Wharves is a multi-purpose port terminal that handles containers, bulk cargo such as wheat, cement and oil, and breakbulk shipments, which include lumber, steel, project cargo, motor vehicles and others types.
CEO Mark Williams noted that the company’s performance and its ability to effectively navigate the pandemic was due largely to the diversity of the cargo types handled, adding that the pandemic had a negative effect on global shipping and as a result impacted some cargo types more severely than others.
“The results in the Terminal Division signal a rebounding of the segment, driven by a marked increase in transshipment motor vehicle moves and growth in our bulk and breakbulk business. The growth in these cargo types served to offset the slower recovery pace in other areas, primarily containers which continue to be affected by global supply chain challenges sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CEO stated.
The Logistics Services division continued to experience steady growth in the second quarter. This business unit generated revenues of $1.2 billion, an increase of 27% over the prior year. Divisional profits increased by 62% relative to 2020 from $302 million to $489 million.
Mr. Williams noted that the strong performance of this division reflected return on ongoing capital investments and systems improvements made to expand service offerings and improve overall efficiency, adding that logistics service was a rapidly growing area of Kingston Wharves’ operations and the subject of significant investment over the last five years.
“KWL currently has over 360,000 square ft. of warehouse space, including the 160,000 square ft. Total Logistics Facility (TLF) opened in 2018. Our logistics infrastructure allows us to offer a range of services such as inventory management, warehousing and returns, short term and long term lease, customized freight transportation and distribution, product assembling, order picking and packing and a number of other services.
The Company is also positioned to take advantage of nearshoring opportunities, which are expected to emerge with the shifts in the global supply chain as companies look for warehousing and logistics solutions closer to their target markets, Mr. Williams disclosed.
KWL will further increase its warehousing capacity as the company is to begin construction on its 300,000 square ft. dry-ambient integrated warehouse complex at Ashenheim Road in Kingston, which is expected to be the centrepiece of the company’s nearshoring offering by serving players in the local and global supply chain, he said.
The CEO also paid tribute to the team at Kingston Wharves, KWL’s customers and other stakeholders. “I have no doubt that the business is doing better now than a year ago because we have a strong team. The port never closed; we remained open during the worst days of the crisis, with our team working relentlessly day and night to handle imports and exports to keep the global supply chain moving. We also facilitated the shipment of medical and sanitation supplies,” Mr. Williams stated.
He said the company also took steps to manage the crisis by implementing a range of prevention protocols, streamlined its processes by utilising technology for efficient customer service deliver. “We introduced Click N Collect, a contactless cargo clearance process that allows customers to pay online for personal shipments and pick up within 24 hours. With Click N Collect, the KWL team and the customers’ agents, navigate the entire clearance process on their behalf,” Mr Williams explained.
The CEO added that the company also kept focus on its short, medium and long-term growth strategy. “We have continued to invest in our business with emphasis on bolstering our terminal and logistics infrastructure.
“KWL injected over J$300 million in improving our berthing capacity last year and have earmarked another US$40 million for further developments and equipment acquisition this year,” Mr. Williams stated, adding that warehousing services are also slated for significant investments.