Although still below pre-COVID-19 levels, Arawak Port Development Company (APD) is still tracking ahead of where it budgeted, according to APD President and Chief Financial Officer Dion Bethell yesterday.
Its recently released second-quarter unaudited financials showed that APD’s earnings, for the six months ended December 31, were $7,371,451 – a nearly 20 percent decline from the $8,987,752 recorded during the same period a year earlier.
Landing fees – how the port generates the bulk of its revenues – were $6.07 million in the second quarter, down from the $7.6 million reported a year earlier.
Total revenue was $14,221,383 at the end of the second quarter, compared to $17,313,954.
Bethell attributed the numbers to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel and imports.
“We’re still tracking below pre-COVID levels, but we are tracking slightly higher than budgeted. We forecast that we will remain below pre-COVID volumes until the third or fourth quarter of this year,” he told Guardian Business yesterday.
“We still await the tourism sector and travel to impact the economy, those numbers… are down 75 percent and ocean passenger arrivals as you can appreciate have pretty much halted.”
Bethell said the country’s main port was able to maintain healthy numbers because of the major construction projects that are currently active throughout the capital.
“The impact of some key construction projects are contributing to the slightly higher than budgeted numbers, that being the US Embassy, Goldwyn, Prince George Wharf, and the Sterling project on Paradise Island, and of course, The Pointe with their FFEs which are fixtures, fitting and equipment,” he said.
“The Pointe is pretty much getting ready or winding down on that project. But those volumes would have contributed to the slightly better than budgeted numbers I talked about.”
Bethell added that the company didn’t get the injection it typically does during the holidays, noting that APD’s “trends relative to Christmas weren’t as they were in the past”.
“They were down. Again with tourism, Baha Mar and Atlantis had opened up in the latter part of December and we don’t think the occupancy was as forecasted for them. And even though they had some guests in-house, the impact of that on the second quarter didn’t create as much activity for us,” he said.
“What I mean by that is BFS (Bahamas Food Services) and the other wholesalers would have certainly supplied those properties with the various food items in anticipation, but they didn’t open until the latter part of December, so the volumes did not fully translate to a significant portion of the numbers.”
APD paid out $755,375 in direct government fees and taxes, an increase from the $741,220 paid out in the second quarter of 2019.
APD’s total expenses at the half way point were down to $6,849,932 from the previous year’s $8,326,202.