PORTS of Auckland prospered in its first year as a listed company with record cargo volumes, cost efficiencies and berth sales at Westhaven marina helping lift tax-paid profit by 43 per cent to NZ$31.6 million (about HK$147.8 million). There was no breakdown of individual profit contributions, but increased rentals at Viaduct Basin after an upgrade for the Whitbread yacht race, and sales of the Westhaven marina berths were reflected in a revenue increase for port property of 61.26 per cent to $15 million for the year. To June 30, the company had sold 190 marina berths, with another 20 since then, but after funding costs on the marina extension the last 60 sales were the profit-takers and would be reflected in next year's results. Chairman Sir Richard Carter said the port was increasing market share through efficiency and marketing, having capacity until at least 2000. Chief executive Robert Cooper said Auckland was well placed to capitalise on the trend of hubbing, where road, rail and coastal shipping was used to bring export goods to the port and distribute imports. But he emphasised that competition was keen because New Zealand had too much port capacity and there were still players planning to add facilities. At June 30, the company was debt free, but $21 million has been earmarked for the coming year to fund a gantry crane, forklift trucks and computer equipment. The fully imputed final dividend of five cents a share (10 cents for the year) absorbed 15.9 per cent of the income. Revenue was up 18 per cent to $125.4 million, while operating cash flow was $40.7 million, more than double that of last year. Mr Cooper said the port handled record tonnage both in imports and exports, with cargo volumes up 11 per cent at 7.8 million tonnes, up 50 per cent on 1988 figures. He said that in 1988 it was believed that the 185,989 containers handled at the port was near capacity, but this year the number was 341,160. Auckland handled 69 per cent of the North Island total. A nine per cent increase in export cargo was well ahead of the average with Auckland handling 36 per cent of North Island beef exports, 39 per cent of North Island's dairy and 54 per cent of its wool products. Mr Cooper said the company's strength lay in the number of ship visits - both cargo and cruise, diversity of cargo mix, and the range of companies and trade routes with the Pacific Rim trade in particular expanding. Average turnaround of ships had been reduced from 58.4 hours in 1988 to 15.4 hours during the year and the handling of containers fell from 9.8 worker hours to 2.4 hours.