2018 Annual Report: Welcome from our Chair
"As Chair of the Port, I have great pleasure to report on our 60th year of operation.
It has been a challenging trading year. Cargo volume has fallen to 31m tonnes with lower than expected Liquefied Natural Gas traffic and, while the last few months have seen a welcome upturn, the performance reinforces our strategic drive to diversify and expand into new ventures. Last year’s acquisition of Havens Head Retail Park had a negative impact on profitability this year but this was as a result of an unrealised property revaluation associated with the downturn of the UK retail sector. We remain confident that the acquisition is an important part of our long-term growth strategy. Our ongoing investment into decarbonising our operations has also proved beneficial, both financially and environmentally. Looking to the wider markets, especially for UK trading businesses, there is considerable uncertainty and low national growth forecasts are impacting confidence. We recognise the effect this will have on us and our customers. We remain committed to our growth strategy although we appreciate that a measured approach must be taken in order to sustain the business in the long term.
We are, first and foremost, a port. In 2018 we celebrated 60 years of expert, dedicated operations helping the nation transport goods quickly and efficiently. Our future will be built upon these firm foundations as we expand into new ventures that realise the full potential of our assets, strengthen our relationships and create new opportunities. We are excited about our flagship projects, Milford Waterfront and Pembroke Dock Marine, as they open up new opportunities in leisure, tourism and renewables. Our focus is on creating the right conditions and facilities to attract new businesses to the region. As important as both projects are to our future, they both have strong links to our past. In Milford Waterfront, we are taking time to embed the rich history of the town into the development and help reinforce Milford Haven’s sense of place. With Pembroke Dock Marine we are continuing the Royal Dockyard’s long tradition of evolving to meet the demands of industrial growth. This growth is a fundamental part of our role as a Trust Port. The Department for Transport’s “Ports Good Governance Guidance” published in 2018 describes a Trust Port as a valuable asset presently safeguarded by the existing board whose duty it is to hand it on in the same or better condition to succeeding generations. This remains the ultimate responsibility of the Board, and future generations remain the ultimate stakeholder. It accords with our vision to build the Haven’s prosperity so it is vital that we ensure the right strategy is in place and that it is being delivered.
In an anniversary year, it is particularly important to take stock. Just looking at progress since our last major milestone in 2008, the Port has seen the construction of Europe’s largest and most advanced gas-fired power station and the arrival of Liquefied Natural Gas which, together, attracted £2.25bn of investment to the Waterway. With the new £100m+ investment in Valero’s combined heat and power cogenerating unit, their recent purchase of SEM Logistics - now Valero Pembrokeshire Oil Terminal, combined with our own focus on creating facilities that are attractive to the emergent marine energy industries, the Milford Haven Waterway remains a powerful energy hub. As the next decade beckons, we are not standing still and will invest to deliver long-term stable growth.
On behalf of the Board and the business, I’d like to thank Alec Don who stepped down as Chief Executive this year. Alec has been a driving force over the last decade and we wish him the very best in his new ventures. Andy Jones has taken on the mantle of Interim Chief Executive and his energy and determination will be key in introducing some operational changes that will herald in the next 60 years. I’d also like to acknowledge the contributions of both Sue Davenport and David Snelson who left the Board in January 2018, and congratulate Andrew Edwards on his appointment to Vice-Chair. We will all benefit from the breadth of experience he brings to the role. We also welcomed new Non-Executive Directors Ian Shipperley, Debra Williams and Steve Phillips.
My final words go to all our employees. I see a great team, intent on ensuring we operate as efficiently as possible. I also see how much we are now collaborating outside the Port and the positive impact this is having on our stakeholders. The Board and I thank them for the time and energy they all devote to the business. Without them, our collective progress would be impossible."
Chris Martin, Chair
Download the 2018 Annual Report.