VICTORIA –BC Ferries released its first-quarter results today for the three months ended June 30, 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic had a significant impact on first-quarter results. Net losses for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $62 million, compared to net earnings of $12.2 million for the same quarter of the previous year.
“While COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on our business, I want to express my deep appreciation to our frontline staff who came to work every day in the depths of the pandemic to provide lifeline service to coastal communities,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “I also want to thank our customers for their patience as we all work towards a new normal.”
Revenue for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, at $137.4 million, was down $109 million year-over-year. This impact to earnings was partially offset by reductions in operating expenses of $36.7 million compared to the same quarter of the prior year.
In response to COVID-19, BC Ferries deferred capital expenditures and has, and will continue to, reduce discretionary spending while operating a sustainable, safe and reliable service. The company also worked with the Province to reduce sailings to match the significant drop in traffic.
“We made prudent decisions to remove costs for the health of the ferry system. This is decisive action to safeguard the coastal ferry service for the long term, while continuing to provide essential services to customers and communities,” said Collins. “We have been bringing back service capacity to coastal communities ahead of gradually increasing demand.”
At the outset of the pandemic, ferry traffic dropped dramatically and was down 75 to 80 per cent across the system in a matter of days. With the Province’s recent easing of travel restrictions, traffic at the end of June partially recovered and was down approximately 35 per cent compared to this period last year.
During the three months ended June 30, 2020, BC Ferries delivered 18,249.5 round trips, a decrease of 2,340 or 11.4 per cent compared to the same period in the prior year. The company carried 2.2 million passengers and 1.3 million vehicles during the quarter, a decrease of 61.5 per cent and 46.7 per cent, respectively, compared to the same quarter in the prior year.
On August 11, 2020, the Province announced BC Ferries is one of the entities included in the federal government’s previously announced transit funding of $540 million in response to the impact of COVID-19. This transit funding is to be matched equally by the Province for a total funding envelope of $1.08 billion.