BC Ferries saw a decrease in passengers of 39.6 per cent and 22.3 per cent in vehicles carried over last year in its third quarter results for the fiscal year. Despite decreased traffic, it recorded net earnings of $98.4 million for the three months ending in December 2020.
The company recorded a net loss of $8.3 million in the same quarter in the prior year, according to a news release from BC Ferries.
The earnings are a result of a $308 million contribution from a federal-provincial Safe Restart Plan initiative. The company said it applied nine months’ worth of safe restart funding ($154.8 million), to third quarter revenues. Without this relief, the net loss for the three months ending in December would have been $56.4 million.
“We would again like to acknowledge the important contribution from the federal and provincial governments to address the profound impact COVID-19 has had on transportation and on the ferry system,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO.
“The Safe Restart funding will protect the long term sustainability of the ferry system to recover our losses and maintain service and future investments in ferry dependent communities.”
In the three months ending in December, operating expenses decreased by $6.7 million, or 3.3 per cent, compared to the same period the year before, according to BC Ferries.
This is mainly due to reduced round trips on the major routes and the deferral of certain discretionary costs as a result of the pandemic.
The expense reduction includes reduced labour costs, fuel consumption, contracted services and depreciation expense.
Year-to-date, the company has carried 10.6 million passengers and 5.3 million vehicles, a decrease of 42.1 per cent and 26.9 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year.