Portsmouth council’s shipping business MMD starts to turn bigger profit

MMD at Portsmouth International Port
MMD at Portsmouth International Port
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SHIPPING firm MMD is making money for Portsmouth City Council, a new report reveals.

Previously the council’s ownership of the firm has come under fire, after it was found that more than £16m of taxpayers’ cash had been used to prop it up to stop it from folding.

Between 2008, when the council took over the business, to 2016 MMD was given £16.7m in grants by the local authority – although the council said that this money was worth paying in the long run as it generated cash at the port and that MMD contributed to council coffers.

Now a new report has revealed that MMD made a £200,000 profit in the last financial year, and that it paid £1.5m to the council in rent, rates, pilotage and port dues. In the 2015/16 financial year it made a profit of £42,000.

Not included in the report are the fee payments MMD makes to the port, which bring more revenue to the council.

Mike Sellers, MMD director said: ‘We want to let companies know Portsmouth is open for business, a place to invest and a city with ambition.

‘With MMD taking such a forward-thinking approach it is hoped this will act as a catalyst to improve the city’s fortunes wider.’

The council is hoping to develop the site which will allow it to import a wider variety of goods.

Council leader Donna Jones said: ‘With the arrival of the Maersk carriers and welcoming new contracts, MMD has seen an increase in its contribution towards the council’s budget.

‘Our aim is to improve the business at MMD further so it operates successfully in this competitive, commercial industry. This includes opportunities to develop the site so it can cater for more than just fruit imports and becomes a real challenger in the cargo market.

‘We’re committed to a long-term future for MMD, this means investing in growth with a realistic expectation for profit.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs said: ‘The trading position at MMD has improved significantly over recent years.

‘The city council has invested in the port to allow modern containerised vessels to land fruit cargos.

‘This should ensure it remains competitive and that it will continue to provide employment and support the council budget over the coming years.’

The port, which is also council-owned, made a profit of £3.16m in the last financial year, up from £1.43m the year before.