Foyle Port posts ‘resilient’ results despite challenges of pandemic

Foyle Port’s latest financial results for the year ending March 31, 2021 show that its performance has remained ‘resilient’ over the past year despite the severe challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foyle Port.Foyle Port.
Foyle Port.

The figures published on Wednesday show that trade has reduced by 9% to 1.7 million tonnes while the port’s operating profit reached £1.5 million - reflecting a 12% reduction on the previous year.

Turnover at the port was £9.2 million, slightly down on last year’s pre-Covid £10.4 million.

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Despite the unprecedented challenges that both the pandemic and the post-Brexit landscape posed to the port, and the maritime sector more generally, Foyle Port reinvested approximately £1 million in fixed assets, taking its asset base to £42.7 million.

The port, which employs 108 people and generates £4.3 million in wages annually, also sources 80% of its electricity from low carbon fuel sources and is continuing to meet its decarbonisation obligations by investing in electric vehicles.

Over the last year, Foyle Port has reduced its CO2 emissions by 76 tonnes.

Speaking at the port’s AGM, Bonnie Anley, Chair, said: “These financial results illustrate the scale of the challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic and grappling with the post-Brexit trading environment have posed to Foyle Port. Despite these challenges, however, the Port’s financial performance has remained impressively resilient... During this tough year, the port played its role, as a key worker designated service, facilitating the vital trade flows into and out of the North West region. As this year progressed, Commissioners successfully ensured that our core business remained fully operational whilst, at the same time, continuity plans were quickly implemented as required.

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“Foyle Port’s performance has shown great resilience in the face of challenge but the Commissioners remain focused on innovation and adaptability to ensure that we deliver a solid business model for future generations. The Commissioners remain steadfast in delivering for the NW region whilst mindful of the priority to continue to support our customers and safeguard the wellbeing of our employees.”

Brian McGrath, Chief Executive, Foyle Port, said: “Our number one aim this past year throughout the pandemic was to protect our employees and keep Foyle Port operating in line with our statutory duties. We transitioned successfully to a home and hybrid working model for our office staff with no impact on the quality or efficiency of our work or productivity.”

He added: “While this has been a challenging year for the port, we are proud of our collective resilience and strength and I want to thank every member of staff and the Executive Team for their personal contributions.”

He remarked: “Looking forward, a wholesale modernisation of NI’s harbour legislation and our designation as a freeport would stimulate a step change in operational scale which will be driven by shipping, green energy, and innovation.

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“Over the next year, we look forward to working closely with the Department for Infrastructure and the entire Northern Ireland Executive to recognise the potential offered by Foyle Port as a vehicle to ‘level up’ the North West regional economy.”