BC Ferries releases first quarter results
BC Ferries released its first quarter results today for the three months ended June 30, 2019. Passenger and vehicle traffic levels are the highest the company has ever experienced in the first quarter of a fiscal year.
Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 were $12.2 million, compared to net earnings of $6.0 million for the same quarter of the previous year.
“Net earnings are essential for us to fulfill our commitment to support the growing needs of coastal communities,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “With the public interest in mind, we reinvest all earnings back into the ferry system. This is evidenced by our $26 million of investments this quarter which is more than our $12.2 million of net earnings. This enables expanded service to communities, larger ships, upgraded terminals, debt reduction and financial sustainability.”
To improve customer experience, accommodate the higher traffic volumes, and deliver the increased service levels agreed to with the Province, BC Ferries provided more than 700 additional round trips compared to the same period in the prior year. The company also introduced the Northern Sea Wolf and re-introduced the upgraded Spirit of Vancouver Island into service. These actions contributed to a 7.3 per cent increase in revenue and a corresponding 5.0 per cent increase in expenses compared to the first quarter of the previous fiscal year.
In this quarter, BC Ferries invested $26 million as part of its $3.9 billion 12-Year Capital Plan that is focused on replacing ships and upgrading terminals. “Our Capital Plan is vital to maintain an efficient ferry service that meets the increasing demands on the system,” said Collins. “We need to replace half of our fleet over the next 15 years as we incorporate clean technology and increase capacity.”
BC Ferries continues to focus on fare affordability. At the start of fiscal 2019 (April 1, 2018), BC Ferries, with partial funding from the Province, reduced fares on the minor and northern routes by 15 per cent. Fares on the three Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes were held constant. There are no fare increases being introduced in fiscal 2020.
“Focusing on cost improvements in fuel, maintenance, labour and increasing diversified revenues are ways we reduce upward pressure on fares,” said Collins.
In the three months ended June 30, 2019, BC Ferries delivered over 45,000 sailings, an average of 497 sailings per day for its customers. In the interest of the travelling public, there were 3,268 more round trips provided than required under the Coastal Ferry Services Contract this quarter. The company carried 5.8 million passengers and 2.4 million vehicles, an increase of 2.2 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively, compared to the same quarter in the prior year.