Northland Port names Graham Wallace as interim CEO, eyes expansion
Northland Port Corp., which owns a half stake in the region’s Marsden Point port operator Northport, named Graham Wallace as interim chief executive.
Wallace will take up the role immediately to allow the orderly transfer of responsibility before general manager Jim Smillie retires early next year, the company said in a statement. Wallace is a qualified accountant who has worked alongside the company for 18 years, holding a variety of finance related positions.
Chairman Colin Mitten said the appointment comes as the company develops its land holdings in the Marsden Point area while investing more in the port operating entity, Northport Ltd.
"The company has a key part to play if the Northland region is to start realising its true economic potential," he said. Ports of Auckland owns 19.9 percent of Northland Port Corp alongside Northland Regional Council, which in turn owns about 54 percent of Northport.
Northport’s other investor is Port of Tauranga, which claims dominance in North Island trade handling similar bulk cargoes to Marsden Point, such as logs. Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga have been unable to forge a direct alliance as they compete for freight but both see strategic value in their partnership at Marsden Point.
Northport has about 180 hectares of land, owned by Northland Port, which is currently only at 50 percent capacity. In February, the company's profit rose 51 percent to $3.2 million for the six months ended Dec. 31 as the wharves bulged with logs bound for export markets. Sales increased 35 percent to $4.8 million. Shares in Northland Port have gained 33 percent this year and are currently trading at $2 apiece.
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