BC Ferries Twitter
(Image / BC Ferries Twitter)

BC Ferries reported an $81.7 million drop in revenue for their second quarter, ending September 30, compared to the same time period in 2019.

The loss is the latest indicator of a serious impact on the transport provider stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net losses for BC Ferries’ year-to-date since April 1, 2020 were $24.2 million, compared to net earnings of $107.2 million for the same time period in 2019. This represents a decline in revenues 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 Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.

Passenger traffic has declined significantly as travel has been routinely discouraged by governments at every level, and even from tourism groups on the Island.

During their second quarter, BC Ferries saw a drop of 29 per cent in passenger traffic and 14 per cent in vehicle traffic, compared to 2019.

Expenses have also fallen as the transport operator has cut labour costs, fuel consumption, contracted services, and maintenance.

However, with an operational cost decrease of only 11.5 per cent for the second quarter compared to 2019, BC Ferries says these cuts will not be enough to offset their revenue losses.

They say that a significant portion of their costs are fixed and they are reassessing long-term capital plans to procure new vessels and to upgrade and modify existing vessels.

“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,” said Collins.

On September 18, 2020, the Federal and Provincial Governments announced that
BC Ferries will receive $308 million under the Safe Restart Funding Program.

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