Record turnover, strong commercial property performance and continued investment made 2015 a buoyant year for Shoreham Port.
The port’s annual report, officially released on Monday, highlighted a series of successes, which saw 1.8million tonnes of cargo pass through the facility, along with thousands of commercial, fishing and leisure vessel calls.
Chief executive Rodney Lunn said: “2015 was a good year for the port, with all cargo groups performing well, and our commercial property was 98 per cent let on average.
“The construction trade remained buoyant in London and the south east, thus pulling in the base cargoes of timber, steel and aggregates.”
Revenue, recorded at £12.7million, with pre-tax profit of £1.7million, was the sixth successive record increase.
The port saw its best year for timber, up three per cent, while steel was up seven per cent.
New cargoes also passed through, including telegraph poles and recycled products.
The port saw 9.5 per cent more ship calls in 2015, while it handled its first cruise ship, the Hebridean Princess, in August.
Offshore support vessels working on the Rampion wind farm project began calling, a sight set to continue throughout the construction process.
Chairman Stuart Condie congratulated the port’s leadership team for an ‘excellent’ set of trading results.
He said: “The positive cash flow produced is important as this enables us to not only reduce our borrowings, but also to continue to invest in key equipment and infrastructure such as the new crane, Southwick Beach defences and widening of the power station quay that featured in 2015.”
The annual report notes 2016 has seen a ‘solid start’ with revenue ahead of last year’s year-on-year results.
Mr Condie added: “Given the positive impact that the port’s growth has on local employment and skills, as well as the south coast regional economy, the board is keen to win new business and diversify the cargo and commercial revenues of the port.
“This will include new energy projects such as further solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and the Edgeley Green project plus new cargos such as recycled products and telegraph poles.”
Regeneration of the port is set to continue, with the Free Wharf site sold to Southern Housing Group for redevelopment.
The report notes the intention to sell Kingston Wharf, also for housing, while plans are afoot to apply for planning consent for a ‘comprehensive redevelopment scheme’ of Southwick waterfront.
The port supports around 1,600 jobs and directly employs 110 people, bolstered by the hiring of three new apprentices in August.
Staff supported three successful fundraising days, with 40 charitable donations made by the port over the year.
Scores attend annual meeting
Scores of residents attended the port’s annual stakeholder meeting last week.
Chief executive Rodney Lunn gave a presentation at the Southwick Community Centre, delivering an overview of the port’s year.
A question and answer session followed, with the port thanked for its assistance with Sussex Yacht Club and the Shoreham Slipways Group.
Mr Lunn said: “Thank you to all who attended the meeting. We had a great turnout and were pleased with the positive feedback received
on the night.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement with our local community over the coming months and especially in July at our two-day boat tours event.”