Operating income

The breakdown of the different sources of income is as follows:

The variation in the different income categories over the past three years was as follows:

Despite the main rates being frozen in 2010, the income from concessions rose by 1.3%, due mainly to a limited increase in site area.

Although freight volumes rose from 157.8 to 178.1 million tonnes, the income from shipping dues did not follow this increase. The main reason for this can be found in the measures taken by the Port Authority to keep the rates charged to customers commercially attractive, such as freezing the rates in 2010 and the substantial reduction in berthing dues for breakbulk freight. Barge dues on the other hand experienced an increase following the higher level of activity.

The tugging department for its part saw a slight fall in its activity. The number of tugging jobs was down by 2%, while the number of slings invoiced remained stable. Due to the higher fuel prices in 2010 there was an increase in the amount of fuel supplements, so that the total turnover from tugging activities rose by 1.6%. The statistics show that the increasing capacity of ships (such as Ultra Large Container Ships) had a significant impact on tugging activity, with fewer tugging jobs but a higher gross tonnage.

The turnover from sales of electricity remained again more or less stable, at 11.4 million euros compared with 11.7 million in 2009. As in 2009 and 2008 the tarrifs remain dependent on a long-term rate being approved. However there is a dispute pending with the Commission for Regulation of Electricity and Gas (CREG) concerning the valuation of the “Regulated Asset Base” and the initial value of the latter. This is also described in the notes annexed to the annual accounts. Furthermore the Board of Directors of the Port Authority decided in December 2010 to sell off the electricity grid activity to another grid operator. The various arrangements for transfer of the activity are now being worked out with the chosen candidate, IVEG.

While dock cranes and floating cranes both registered a significant drop in turnover in 2009, in 2010 they experienced clear recovery, with activity up by 20.7% for dock cranes and 42.7% for floating cranes. The efforts towards greater collaboration between dock cranes and floating cranes, both internally and commercially, continued in 2010.

The other operating income amounted to 54.2 million euros in 2010, compared with 48.6 million euros in 2009. This operating income consists to a large extent of operational subsidies from the Flemish Region (27.6 million euros in 2010 and 25.2 million euros in 2009). The subsidies are a contribution towards the costs that the Port Authority incurs in carrying out tasks that are actually incumbent upon the Flemish Region under the terms of the Port Decree.

The other operating income in 2010 included the amounts passed on for withholding tax on income from real estate and water supplies, totalling 16.9 million euros (16.2 million euros in 2009).

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