About BC Ferries

President's Message

May 31, 2017

Mark Collins, President & CEO of BC FerriesAs we enter peak travel season, I have been reflecting on all that takes place behind the scenes at BC Ferries to deliver a safe and positive customer experience. It takes people, expertise, planning and investment to bring it all together. And the sum of all this business activity, I believe, has a major benefit for the economy of British Columbia.

In the off peak season, for example, we hire hundreds of new staff, train them to exacting standards and help them become an expert at their work. This takes trainers, coaches, classrooms, examiners, materials and mentors, to name a few. This year alone, BC Ferries hired and trained more than 400 new seasonal employees and transformed them into maritime customer service professionals. It is likely one of the largest continuous hiring programs in B.C., and we do it every year. That's a lot of new expertise launched into our provincial workforce annually.

Given that BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry systems in the world, our ship and terminal assets require expert attention to keep them in peak condition. To do this, we have one of the biggest marine engineering organizations in Canada with a staff of nearly 900 critical experts supporting our ships and terminals. Ensuring our network is reliable is such a vital activity, that BC Ferries has its own ship repair yard located in Richmond, the third largest such yard in B.C.

Maintaining the ferry system is a big undertaking. Each year BC Ferries, on average, spends more than $250 million in British Columbia building and upgrading our network. We consume shipyard, marine construction, engineering, design, information and logistics goods and services from across the province, amounting to more than $2.5 billion in the past decade.

Each year, we invest in our network to keep it safe, reliable and an enjoyable experience for our customers. Since 2003, we have invested more than $2.5 billion in new ships, terminals and information systems. Our investment plans for the next ten years call for a further $3 billion.

When making these expenditures, we keep a close eye on wise spending. We continually seek the greatest appropriate return on investment for our customers and fight for the best long-term benefit when procuring goods and services. Though this may lead us outside B.C. when we can’t find a supplier at home, as with our new Salish class ships; we demand maximum economic advantage for fare payers and a total benefit that is positive for B.C. in every transaction we undertake.

Our investments are paying off. In the past ten years, fleet operational reliability has climbed, while the average age of our ships and terminals has declined. The number of incidents that disrupt service for our customers has also dropped steadily. We have brought new customer experiences to the network, such as Tsawwassen Quay in 2005 and Nanaimo Quay in 2008. BC Ferries is also now one of the largest restaurant chains in B.C. with our catering and retail outlets generating $87 million annually in additional revenue, helping us keep fare increases down for the past two years. Our BC Ferries Vacations business brings more than $6 million of incremental new business to BC Ferries every year and tourism spending to the communities we serve. These and other developments at BC Ferries make substantial lasting contributions to the quality of our service and to the economy of British Columbia.

We do all of this to provide our customers with the best possible coastal B.C. travel experience. All of us at BC Ferries wish you a safe and exciting summer. We look forward to seeing you out there on the water.

Safe travels,

Mark

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