On April 2, 2003, after intense examination by the provincial government and BC Ferries' Board of Directors, our corporation was officially re-launched as a new, independent commercial company and renamed British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
It is an exciting change for many reasons; in its former state as a crown corporation, BC Ferries had weak financial underpinnings for the service it was required to deliver. Over the next 15 years,approximately $2 billion will be required to upgrade and modernize the aging ferry fleet and ensure that terminals keep pace with traffic demands.
The new company is designed to attract private-sector investment and establish innovative partnerships that respond to the marketplace. While legislated to protect consumers, the new structure has enough flexibility to encourage entrepreneurial ingenuity that focuses more on the customer and in a way that meets solid business objectives.
In honour of its 43-year history as BC Ferries' official symbol, the Dogwood flag was permanently retired and presented to the Maritime Museum of Victoria for posterity.
The Dogwood emblem, which had not changed in 25 years, was replaced with a stylized wave representing white ships on blue seas.
The legacy of all this effort is frequent, convenient, year-round service on 25 routes throughout coastal British Columbia. Our ships link fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and businesses. They appear in travel brochures throughout the world, encouraging people to visit this remarkable place we call home. And they even make appearances in the movies, sometimes in disguise, but always distinctively British Columbia.
And while many things have changed over the years, the mission has remained pretty much the same: to provide a safe, dependable marine transportation service.
From all of us at BC Ferries, we look forward to welcoming you aboard.