Volumes growth improves for Asciano

Company remains on track for a positive full year result in 2014/15

Volumes growth improves for Asciano
It’s steady as she goes for John Mullen.


Asciano has reported a slight increase in the number of containers its intermodal services carried in the third quarter of the current financial year, alongside a slight decrease in net tonne kilometres.

The company handled a total of 191,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) over the three months to March 31, up 1.7 per cent on the intermodal TEUs moved over the same period 12 months earlier. At the same time, net tonne kilometres in the intermodal division fell by 1.3 per cent to 5061.

In Asciano’s terminals and logistics division, the number of container lifts grew 3.6 per cent to 492,000 over the March quarter.

The company says the improvement also translated into the total number of TEUs handled by Asciano’s terminals over the period, up 4.0 per cent to 731,000.

Its terminals in Fremantle, Melbourne and Brisbane saw strong improvement during the quarter, offsetting the disruption felt in Sydney as Patrick’s Port Botany facility was redeveloped.

"The conversion to a fully automated mode of operation at Port Botany has successfully been completed," the company’s update to the stock exchange states.

"The assembly and commissioning of three new Liebherr cranes will take place over the next several months.

"These cranes will deliver the terminal the flexibility to service larger vessels as they commence service into some ports of Australia."

It notes that its terminals division has been shortlisted for second stage of the Fremantle tender process "and remains in discussions with the port authority about a range of proposals".

Asciano managing director John Mullen says the company’s expected full year result has not changed.

"The company continues to expect underlying earnings growth to be higher than the underlying earnings growth of 5 per cent achieved in the 2014 financial year, driven by modestly improving volume growth across some activities and an ongoing focus on business improvement initiatives," he says.

Part of that future growth is expected to come from Patrick Port Logistics’ joint venture with Sydney-based ACFS Port Logistics.

"The establishment of the metropolitan logistics joint venture with ACFS and the restructure of the Bulk Port Services regional logistics activities is a significant step towards streamlining our activities and leveraging Asciano’s broader logistics platform to grow volume," Mullen says.

"We will continue to pursue opportunities to generate value through strategic acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures and divestments across all our divisions."


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