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Imports 20% below pre-pandemic levels

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Twenty-foot equivalent container unit movement on Hamilton docks is down (Photograph by David Fox)

The volume of cargo brought to Bermuda remains 20 per cent below the island’s high-water mark in 2018, according to a firm’s financial report.

Polaris Holding Company Ltd, the parent company to Stevedoring Services Ltd and East End Asphalt Company Ltd, has reported its financial results for the six months ended September 30, 2023.

They showed that Polaris reported profits of $910,000, or $0.76 per share, for the six-month period.

Polaris said: “Twenty-foot equivalent container units imported and exported from the island through Stevedoring Services totalled 17,232 during the first half, down (691) TEUs or (3.9 per cent) versus fiscal’s 2023’s first half, when 17,923 TEUs were carried.

“Nearly 50 per cent of the decline in year-over-year containerised cargo was due to timing, with the current half reflecting less voyages than the prior year.”

The firm added: “With that said, the volume of cargo, a proxy from Bermuda’s financial health, continues down from pre-pandemic levels, and remains more than 20 per cent below Bermuda’s high-water mark of fiscal 2018.

“Breakbulk cargo, which includes everything from motor vehicles, heavy equipment imports and construction material, was up from fiscal 2023, but the level of construction, and the associated loose cargo, continued light during the first half of the year.”

The volume of work at East End Asphalt was much weaker than hoped, with the division recording a modest $35,000 loss in the first six months, a position Polaris said it anticipated reversing in the second half of fiscal 2024.

The company added: “The six-month period benefited from a $601,000 gain on the sale of Mill Reach Holding Company Limited’s property, which was liquidated in the first quarter of fiscal 2024.

“Those funds were utilised by Polaris to purchase a new, wholly owned subsidiary, Duck’s Puddle Properties Ltd, which owns the Hamilton Parish real estate used in East End Asphalt’s operations, and previously rented by EEA from a third party.

“The company continued profitable, and in a stable cash position, allowing it to maintain its quarterly dividends at $0.10 per share, with consistent dividends for the past 11 quarters, including September 30, 2023.”

Based on Polaris’s most recent share price of $7.25 per share, its $0.40 per year dividend is delivering a 5.5 per cent annual return to shareholders.

To view the statement from Polaris in full, see Related Media

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Published November 20, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated November 21, 2023 at 8:21 am)

Imports 20% below pre-pandemic levels

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