B.C. Ferries posts $34M profit, thanks to pandemic relief funding

Without government relief funding, B.C. Ferries would have recorded a loss

Mark Collins, chief executive of B.C. Ferries, said the company is adding staff to meet the increase in demand for services | Photo: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist

A rebound in domestic travel ­coupled with pandemic relief funding allowed B.C. Ferries to post a $34-million profit for the 2022 fiscal year ended March 31, according to figures released Friday.

B.C. Ferries reported its traffic, revenue, earnings and expenditures were all up compared with the previous year, though its numbers were still well off pre-pandemic results.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we are grateful to our employees for their commitment to put safety first, operate in the public interest and ensure reliable ferry travel,” said chief executive Mark Collins. “We are excited to see people travelling with us again and are adding staff to meet the increase in demand for our service.”

Over the past year, B.C. Ferries carried 17.9 million passengers and 8.5 million vehicles, an increase of 37 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, over 2021 figures.

However, the passenger numbers were still 20 per cent behind those in 2019 while vehicle traffic was five per cent behind.

Although the company managed a $34-million profit in 2022, without federal and provincial pandemic relief funding to the tune of $102.3 million it would have posted a $68.2 million loss.

The profit in 2022 was an increase of $13.1 million compared with 2021, which included $186 million in Safe Restart funding. B.C. Ferries said assistance to the public transportation sector has been a critical part of the B.C. Safe Restart Plan and without it B.C. Ferries would have recorded a total loss of $233.2 million over the past two years.

The company said it does not foresee the need for any further COVID-19 relief funding.

Revenue over the past 12 months was $965.4 million, a $100.1-million improvement over the past year, while operating expenses in 2022 were $868 million, an increase of $88.2 million due to an increase in sailings.

Over the past year, B.C. Ferries continued investing in fleet renewal and other upgrades, spending $171.3 million on new vessels, vessel upgrades, terminal infrastructure and information technology. The company spent $122 million in 2021.

Times Colonist