The Port of Milford Haven’s future growth strategy takes a big leap forward in 2021 despite continued challenges in trading conditions
The Port of Milford Haven’s Annual Report and Financial Statements underpin the optimism about future growth for the UK’s largest energy port. Significant milestones achieved within the Port’s operational areas, and in its flagship projects, Pembroke Dock Marine and Milford Waterfront, demonstrate the value of the continued focus on stimulating long term regional prosperity. 2021 has delivered tangible, visible evidence of the Port’s Strategy being delivered with ever greater momentum and impact.
Covid-19 continued to impact sales in 2021, with turnover levels remaining down due to the impact of the pandemic at £24.8m for the year (2020 £25.2m), however a strong focus on operating efficiencies and cost control led to a return to profitability with the Port reporting an operating profit for the year of £1.3m (2020 £0.7m operating loss).
2021 saw the Port strengthen its role within the UK’s transportation network. Continued investment in key infrastructure ensured safe and reliable use of this deep-water port for its diverse customer base. New facilities and space at Pembroke Dock Ferry Terminal have helped re-secure the Irish Ferries contract ensuring Pembroke Dock to Rosslare remains South Wales’ busiest European sea-link.
The Port’s focus on diversification came to the fore during the year with key milestones reached in the Port’s flagship projects. Construction of the 100 bed Tŷ Hotel at Milford Waterfront got underway in early 2021 and opened its doors last month to very positive reviews and a 4-star rating. Investing in the hotel was a key part of the Port’s development strategy and attracting The Celtic Collection (the team behind Celtic Manor Resort), with their incredible international reputation, as operator will help place Milford Haven firmly on the tourism map. Works also began on the Swansea Bay City Deal-backed Pembroke Dock Marine project at Pembroke Port. (Pembroke Dock Marine is funded by Swansea Bay City Deal through UK and Welsh Government, and by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government). The new spaces and facilities will reinforce Pembrokeshire’s ability to secure long term economic growth from the fast-moving energy sector.
Supporting low carbon industrial growth and innovation has become an important focus for the UK’s largest energy port. Alongside the Pembroke Dock Marine developments, trial projects during 2021 showcased what a low carbon future might look like; a hydrogen car refuelling station was installed at Milford Waterfront, a smart hydrogen hybrid system is now in use, and most of the Port’s vehicle fleet is now electric. Global energy businesses increasingly see the Waterway as a focal point for decarbonisation technologies and the Port is working alongside established and new technologists to explore how this industry can create jobs and opportunities for local businesses.
Chris Martin, Chair at the Port of Milford Haven, said of the results “We are proud that 2021 is likely to be seen as a pivotal year in delivering on our strategic plans, especially while the business continued to face the impact of Covid-19. We took significant steps forward with Pembroke Dock Marine and Milford Waterfront, re-secured the Irish Ferries contract and continued investing in our core marine operations. The leadership of Andy Jones, our outgoing Chief Executive, has been instrumental in ensuring we have the right building blocks in place for continued future growth. We move forward under the helm of Tom Sawyer, our incoming Chief Executive. Tom will continue to strengthen relationships and build long term regional prosperity.”
Andy Jones, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, stated
“Our achievements this year are set against a highly unusual global backdrop, and are therefore stronger for it. Despite these impacts, by managing our costs and internal efficiencies we have returned to operating profit. Moreover, we have taken significant steps forward in our flagship projects and are setting the scene for new growth through the fast-changing energy sector, and a strong local tourism industry. Foundation work rarely wins awards, but it’s a critical part of eventual success and the work completed in 2021 puts the Port in a strong position for the future. I leave the organisation with a clearer sense of purpose and on the cusp of some very exciting opportunities. I wish Tom and the team well as they move these opportunities forward.”
Tom Sawyer, incoming Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, stated “I take great pride in being entrusted to guide the Port onwards. While global issues will continue to have an impact in 2022, we remain focused on delivering safe and efficient maritime services while progressing our diversification plans. Personally, I look forward to working with such an incredible team and our wider stakeholder community as we build the strongest possible future for Pembrokeshire.”