Kingston Wharves Ltd (KWL) indicates that it plans to open its new logistics complex later this year and is also planning the construction of a near-port domestic automotive centre for the benefit of both terminal operations and integrated logistics efforts.According to company CEO Grantley Stephenson, the centre will facilitate domestic motor vehicle imports which have increased by approximately 36 per cent since 2015. Construction is expected to end in six months.
The new facility, he said will be a “one stop centre which offers opportunities for global logistics (warehousing of parts, tires and other motor vehicle accessories) as well as the efficient storage and delivery of services to the domestic market.”
Growth in the motor segment, Stephenson said is dependent on the local economy, and while the growth rate is expected to stabilise soon, the company expects a continued increase in transshipment of vehicles.
Chairman Jeffrey Hall said in comments attached to the first quarter's financials that KWL continues to strengthen core services, while diversifying the range of cargo types the company is able to serve.
Investment, he said, continues in the automotive and logistics business line which includes both domestic as well as transshipment cargo. The business includes cars as well as trucks, heavy equipment and automotive accessories.
“Kingston Wharves' capital investment and business development program covers all aspects of the automotive logistics business including the car terminal space for handling cars shipped, vehicle parking and storage facilities and warehousing for parts and accessories,” Hall told the Jamaica Observer.
For the first quarter, the company's logistics services division earned operating profits of $98 million, an increase of 33 per cent over the prior year on revenues of $327 million, representing an 18 per cent or $49 million increase over the relative period in the prior year.
Hall said in the quarter's report, “This was achieved primarily through an expanding customer base as a result of deliberate marketing and business development efforts as well as the deployment of new technology to improve our integrated logistics services and allow for improved security and more efficient systems for the warehousing, delivery and timely receipt of cargo.”
The operating revenue of KWL's terminal operations division amounted to $1.1 billion, a 14 per cent increase with divisional profits up 21 per cent from $274 million to $331 million.
The main driver behind this growth was said to be the container-handling operations which advanced by eight per cent over the corresponding period of the prior year.
For the three months ended March 31, the wider group achieved revenues of $1.4 billion, up 16 per cent or $189 million increase over the corresponding period in 2016.
Profit before taxation increased from $325 million in 2016 to $402 million in 2017, representing growth of 24 per cent.
Net profit attributable to shareholders increased by 20 per cent or $56 million to $333 million over the comparable period last year.
Earnings per stock unit as at March 31, 2017 grew to 23.25 cents (2016: 19.34 cents).