In its first quarter results released today by BC Ferries, the company reported that passenger traffic levels were the highest the company has experienced in the past 20 years, and that vehicle traffic levels were the highest the company has ever experienced in the same quarter.
During the quarter, passenger traffic increased 3.8 per cent and vehicle traffic increased 4.4 per cent compared to the same quarter in the prior year.
Net earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2017 (the first quarter of fiscal 2018) were CA$17.3 million (US$13.8 million), compared to net earnings of CA$27.0 million in the first quarter of the previous year.
“This first quarter has been very busy for our company as we carried historically high volumes and focused on improving the customer experience,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’
President and CEO. “We have added additional sailings, provided numerous fare discount opportunities and introduced efficient new vessels with modern customer amenities on-board.
“Our net earnings have decreased compared to first quarter last year as BC Ferries invests in this improved customer experience. We have held ticket prices stable, absorbed increased operating costs due to higher traffic and delivered additional capacity to customers.
“In particular, our targeted discount program has led to increased travel by some of our customers and shifted demand to previously underutilised sailings. In fact, on our major routes, there was a seven per cent reduction in overloads for passenger vehicles year-over-year despite the higher traffic levels.”
Revenues increased by 3.1 per cent to CA$225.9 million primarily as a result of the increased traffic volumes, while the average tariff revenue per passenger remained unchanged and the
average tariff revenue per vehicle decreased on the major routes.
Operating expenses increased by 8.8 per cent to CA$194.4 million, compared to the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. BC Ferries attributes this to an increase in fuel consumption, labour and training related costs that resulted from higher traffic volumes, an increase in round trips provided and the introduction of new ships. The company invested CA$91 million in new vessels during the quarter.
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