CEO of Kingston Wharves Limited Mark Williams yesterday noted that the Company navigated the rough waters of the pandemic, steadied the ship and as a result has delivered positive results both financially and operationally. The CEO was speaking at the company’s 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the AC Hotel in Kingston yesterday.
KWL achieved revenues of $8.7 billion in 2021, a 22% increase over the previous year, and operating profit of $3.8 billion, a 36% increase over 2020. The momentum of performance continued into 2022, with the company achieving first quarter results of consolidated revenues of $2.25 billion, a 21% increase over the corresponding period last year, and profit before tax of $769 million, a 19% increase over the previous year.
Kingston Wharves is a multi-purpose port terminal and logistics services provider that facilitates shipping connections to over 45 global destinations. The company handles containerised cargo, bulk shipments, such as grains and oil, as well as breakbulk cargo such as motor vehicles and project cargo (steel and lumber).
“Despite the supply chain challenges induced by the pandemic, we continued to carry out our mandate of delivering world class terminal and logistics services,” the CEO stated. Mr. Williams reported that in 2021 the company achieved a record increase in all cargo types handled, including a record 160,000 motor vehicle unit moves, a 42 % increase over the previous year.
KWL has strengthened its role as a global player in the auto cargo transhipment business through strategic investments in motor vehicle management infrastructure and by consolidating strategic alliances with global autoliners, the CEO noted. He added that through its partners, KWL is now involved in moving auto cargo to countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
The terminal also realised a 102 % increase in breakbulk cargo volumes; 28% growth in bulk cargo 5% increase in containers volumes.
“During the pandemic, the terminal remained open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, providing a safe harbour for shipping lines seeking an alternative to the congestion in the global supply chain,” the CEO stated.
The company is also forging ahead with its plans to establish itself as a nearshoring destination, to provide support to local and regional manufacturers and distributors impacted by supply chain issues and other geopolitical challenges. “Through nearshoring KWL plans to support manufacturers and distributors in managing their supply chain needs close to their target markets, including inventory management,” the CEO stated.
He reminded that ports were funnels for economic growth with direct, indirect and induced economic multipliers, adding that KWL’s investment in measures to capitalise on nearshoring would have spin-offs for the wider economy.
Citing major investments to advance that nearshoring agenda, he disclosed that the company was in the process of executing the works surrounding its US$60 Million infrastructural development projects—the redevelopment of Berth 7 and construction of its Integrated Modular Warehouse Complex at Ashenheim Road in Kingston. “We have conducted preliminary works and construction is to get underway shortly,” the CEO stated.
Investment in people and processes are also crucial to success in this area. The company also continued to make significant investment in its processes by rolling out digital technology and e-commerce solutions—we have deployed digital technology in customer service delivery, contactless cargo clearance; integrated security management programme; an advanced terminal operating system and involvement in the Port Authority of Jamaica’s Port Community System (PCS), Mr. Williams said.
“The horizon ahead may be a bit foggy, the winds may be contrary, but we continue to forge ahead in confidence knowing that we have taken the right steps to achieve success. We have a strong and expansive vision; we have laid the groundwork; we have made the investments in our physical and digital infrastructure, we have equipped our people and we are putting in the work. Our business is prepared for the future and we look forward to continuing to share this journey with you,” the CEO told shareholders.