It was mostly good news all around at the recent BC Ferries Annual General Meeting — traffic is up, new vessels were delivered and more are on order, terminals continue to be upgraded, and safety continues to mark year-over-year improvement. For new President and CEO Mark Collins’ first AGM in the leadership role, it wasn’t a bad way to start his tenure. “BC Ferries is about connecting communities,” he said to attendees. “It’s about knitting together the fabric of coastal British Columbia — to enable families to grow and communities to thrive.”
However, success usually comes with challenges and Collins noted a slight drop in on-time performance as the company deals with the increased volume. “We are in a strong position — both in its assets and management systems and labour relations — to be able to handle the upturn that we see today.” And while a drop in net earnings was posted — $17.3 million for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year versus $27 million a year prior — Collins took stock of the bigger financial picture, noting that in the last two and a half years, the company has held ticket prices stable, absorbed increased operating costs due to higher traffic and offered promotional discounts for customers.
Photo above: Queen of Oak Bay (Photo: BC Shipping News)
Indeed, a closer look at the activities of BC Ferries highlights just how significant those investments have been. Over $2.1 billion has been invested in the last 12 years and another $3 billion is planned for new vessels and upgraded infrastructure between now and 2026.
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