BC Ferries announces sinking finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The global pandemic continues to affect BC Ferries’ bottom line, according to numbers released on Friday.

Net earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 were $37.8 million, $57.2 million less than the same quarter from the previous year.

Year-to-date starting April 1, 2020, net losses were $24.2 million, compared to net earnings of $107.2 million in the same period in the prior year, a decline of $131.4 million.

“COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the ferry system as we navigate through what is now the new normal with our employees, our customers and all British Columbians,” said president and CEO Mark Collins.

“Given the impact of the pandemic to our operations and financial position, we are reviewing all capital plans to identify opportunities to defer any expenditures that are not regulatory, security or safety related or operationally necessary.”

Collins said scrutinizing operations and looking for savings was important “to preserve the long-term sustainability of the ferry system in the public interest.”

Ridership in the quarter dropped 29 per cent for passengers and 14 per cent for vehicles compared to the same period in 2019.

Year-to-date, the company has carried 7.7 million passengers and 3.8 million vehicles, a decrease of 43.0 per cent and 28.7 per cent, respectively, from last year. 

The company said although expenses from things like labour and fuel consumption have also decreased, they did not offset the decline in revenue. It said cost are also being driven by upgrade projects already underway. 

BC Ferries is in line to receive $308 million from the federal and provincial government’s Safe Restart Funding Program. 

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