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Polaris sees container volume rising

The company that owns Hamilton docks operator Stevedoring Services Ltd posted a profit of $647,000 for the first half of its fiscal year.

Polaris Holding Company Ltd, led by chief executive officer Warren Jones, saw an increase in container volume and productivity during the six months ended September 30, and also an increase in costs.

The profit broke down to 55 cents per share, down from $737,000, or 59 cents per share, in the corresponding period last year.

The Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed company paid out dividends of 6 cents in each of the first two quarters this year, representing an annualised yield of 6 per cent on the current share price of $4.

Stevedoring handled 18,858 20-foot containers during the half-year, up 3.5 per cent on last year, while break bulk and loose cargo soared 6.1 per cent.

Expenses rose $205,000 or 4.2 per cent, to $5.06 million. A quarter of that increase was down to added parent company costs in the areas of strategic planning and business expansion efforts.

The remainder of the cost increase came from a 1.5 per cent labour cost increase after two years of frozen wages, higher spending on marketing and promotion, an increase in the terminal software costs and an increase in rates from Stevedoring's new five-year terminal operator's licence.

The cost of repairs and maintenance of equipment was also higher, totalling $293,000 during the six months, compared to $195,000 in the first half of last year.

The company cited “the island's ongoing economic recovery and the continued economic boon from America's Cup” as major factors in the increase in volume and expects that trend to continue throughout 2017.

Stevedoring processed 19.4 containers per gang hour during the period, an improvement from the 17.8 containers per gang hour average two years earlier, the company said.

Eric Berkeley, dock operations manager, said the more effective cargo handling had helped Stevedoring's freight lines maintain consistent schedules and helped the company trim overtime costs by 15 per cent.

Mr Berkeley added that Stevedoring Services had signed a minimum service level agreement with its freight line customers, financially guaranteeing a stepped-up level of productivity and efficiency into the future.

Rising imports: Stevedoring Services saw a 3.5 per cent increase in container volume in the first half of its fiscal year

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Published November 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm (Updated November 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm)

Polaris sees container volume rising

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