February 21, 2020
VICTORIA –BC Ferries released its third quarter results today for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
BC Ferries releases third quarter results
In the three months ended December 31, 2019, BC Ferries delivered over 44,000 sailings across the system. The company carried 4.8 million passengers and 2.0 million vehicles, an increase of 0.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Year-to-date, the company has carried 18.3 million passengers and 7.3 million vehicles, an increase of 0.2 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year.
The company reported a net loss of $8.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019, as compared to a net loss of $3.7 million reported in the same quarter last year. Year-to-date, since April 1, 2019, net earnings were $98.9 million, $5.6 million higher than in the same period in the prior year. Due to the seasonality of ferry travel, net earnings in the first and second quarters are typically reduced by net losses in the last two quarters of the fiscal year when traffic is lower and routine vessel maintenance is scheduled.
Total revenue for the three-month period ended December 31, 2019 increased by $3.2 million to $210.9 million as compared to the same quarter last year. Total revenue for the nine months ended December 31, 2019 increased by $33.4 million to $786.7 million as compared to the same period last year. The increase in revenue is mainly a result of increased vehicle traffic, retail revenue and the provincial contribution for its portion of the fare initiatives.
Operating expenses increased by $7.4 million to $205.7 million as compared to the same quarter last year. For the nine months ended December 31, 2019, operating expenses increased by $27.4 million from $619.4 million to $646.8 million as compared to the same period the year prior. The increase in operating expenses is mainly due to higher labour costs and staffing level changes. These result partly from additional round trips from the service level adjustments as agreed to with the Province, the expanded service of the Central Coast seasonal route and increased service on the major routes to accommodate higher traffic volumes and improve the customer experience.
“Last fall, the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner authorized an average rate increase of 2.3 per cent annually that goes into effect April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO. “We believe that this regulatory decision, being lower than we expected, may make it more challenging to achieve our corporate objectives, which include replacing our aging fleet, upgrading technology, providing operational resiliency and delivering improved customer service.”
Capital expenditures, net of funding from the New Building Canada Fund and FortisBC, in the three and nine months periods ended December 31, 2019 totalled $92.0 million and $147.7 million, respectively. Significant investments include the new Island Class vessels, the Skeena Queen and Spirit Class mid-life upgrades, and upgrading technology.
BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com.
BC Ferries, Media Relations
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BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world based on passengers transported annually and transportation infrastructure, and carried 22.3 million passengers and 8.9 million vehicles during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. BC Ferries provides frequent year-round ferry transportation services to the west coast of Canada on 25 routes, currently supported by 35 vessels and 47 terminals, and also manages other remote routes through contracts with independent operators.