BC Ferries reports drop in net earnings as COVID-19 impacts travel

BC Ferries reports drop in net earnings as COVID-19 impacts travel
CHEK/File photo
Two cars wait for a BC ferry in Nanaimo on March 24, 2020.

BC Ferries’ consolidated net earnings are down significantly from last year as the company saw a decline in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For fiscal 2020, the consolidated net earnings were at $28.8 million, compared to consolidated net earnings of $52.2 million for fiscal 2019, a 44.8 per cent decrease.

The company said it is facing an “unprecedented drop in vehicle and passenger traffic” with a corresponding decline in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting preventative measures and imposed travel restrictions.

READ MORE: BC Ferries to require passengers to have face masks prior to boarding

“This past year will go down in memory as the fiscal year [April 1 to March 31] in which the first 50 weeks delivered one of BC Ferries’ strongest performances to date, while the last two weeks of the fiscal year brought traffic to a near halt,” Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO, said in a statement.

“The challenges of COVID-19 have been nothing short of profound, with impacts shared by all B.C. businesses, our province, our country and the world.”

BC Ferries said due to the fall in travel demand, BC Ferries announced reduced service levels.

“Going forward, our revised plans provide core essential service to coastal communities,
while preserving our ability to operate sustainably,” Collins said.

“Without question, this requires reducing costs further and looking for additional efficiencies. We have reduced operating and capital spending significantly and will only proceed with expenditures directly linked to safety and critical operations.”

In fiscal 2020, revenues increased $15.7 million or 1.7 per cent compared to fiscal 2019, primarily as a result of increased traffic volumes and retail sales, partially offset by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 12 months ended March 31, 2020, BC Ferries invested $238.1 million in capital expenditures, including:

• $140.9 million in new vessels
• $45.6 million in vessel upgrades and modifications
• $26.0 million in information technology
• $15.5 million in terminal marine structures and
• $10.1 million in terminal building upgrades

The company said it carried up to $8 billion of cargo, generating commercial revenue of $89.9 million.

The new northern/mid-coast route and its vessel, Northern Sea Wolf, was brought into service.

The company also received the two new Island Class hybrid-electric ships designed for future full electric operation.

READ MORE: BC Ferries’ first hybrid-electric ship to begin service this week

BC Ferries said it completed over 82,000 round trips during fiscal 2020, 2,330 more than in the
prior year and 4,276.5 more round trips over what is required of the company under the Coastal
Ferry Services Contract.

The company also stated it carried 8.8 million vehicles and 21.7 million passengers during fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2020, for the first 50 weeks, passenger traffic was up 0.1 per cent and vehicle traffic was up 1.3 per cent.

During the last two weeks of March 2020, traffic dropped off with decreases of 55 per cent in vehicles and 69 per cent in passengers. This resulted in a year-to-date decrease of 1.0 per cent in vehicle traffic and 2.7 per cent in passenger traffic compared to the prior year.

BC Ferries said it will continue to monitor traffic and service levels and will ramp up services to meet demand as ferry travel recovers.

Read BC Ferries’ year-end results below


Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!