DEVELOPING Milford Waterfront is key to the Port of Milford Haven’s future growth, as LNG shipments fall to a record low.

The Port has published its 2017 annual report, which reveals a £3million drop in profits.

With a pre-tax profit of £2.6m and turnover of £22.4m, the Port is still very much keeping its head above water, but ongoing volatility in the LNG industry has seen a decline in shipments.

Cargo throughput was also slightly lower than the previous year at 32.1m tonnes, and an additional £1m pension service charge also impacted profits.

But the Port says a series of diversification projects have helped ensure the plain sailing continues.

Last year the Port purchased Havens Head Retail Park, a £15.3m investment expected to add around £1m a year to the Port’s operating profits.

Construction is also underway on a drive-thru Costa coffee shop on the derelict Quay Stores site, which sits at the entrance to the Haven.

Milford Waterfront, which the Port describes as a “desirable place to live, work and play” is still forecast to create almost 600 new jobs in the town, bringing together leisure, retail and food as part of its £70m ‘master plan’.

Energy continues to provide the Port’s core income, and this extends to renewable energy, where it says it has been a “key force in developing doorstep opportunities for the marine renewables sector”.

The Port has invested £650,000 in the Pembroke Dock Marine project, which aims to develop a ‘world class centre for marine energy development’ as part of the wider Swansea Bay City Region Deal.

Trading performance at the deep water cargo handling site, Pembroke Port, also grew during 2017.

“Prosperity is greater than just increased financial wealth - it is about developing opportunities for employment, upskilling, and enhancing personal wellbeing,” said a spokesman.

“With extreme volatility in the energy markets, the Port’s diversification strategy has become a central component in delivering this long term vision.”