BC Ferries released its second quarter results today for the three and six months ending September 30, 2022. Vehicle and passenger traffic, revenue and net earnings are all higher compared to the same periods in the prior year.
For the six months ending September 30, 2022, 5.4 million vehicles were carried, up 4 per cent as compared to 5.2 million in the same period in fiscal 2020, pre-COVID.
“As a result of our employees’ commitment to our customers and communities, we hit a new record for vehicle traffic levels and delivered 1,700 more round trips during the first half of the fiscal year,” said Jill Sharland, BC Ferries’ Interim President and CEO. “Our service is an integral part of British Columbia’s transportation system and I cannot thank the staff enough for going above and beyond to keep the system moving.”
In the three months ending September 30, 2022, BC Ferries carried 7.5 million passengers and 3.0 million vehicles, compared to 7.0 million passengers and 3.0 million vehicles in the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date, the company carried 12.9 million passengers and 5.4 million vehicles, an increase of 28 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year, primarily as a result of travel restrictions being in place through most of the first quarter in the prior year.
BC Ferries’ net earnings for the three months ending September 30, 2022, were $80.4 million, consistent with the same quarter the previous year. Year-to-date since April 1, 2022, net earnings were $88.3 million compared to net earnings of $84.6 million in the prior year.
Revenue for the three months ending September 30, 2022, at $343.1 million, was up
$26.3 million over the same period in the prior year primarily as a result of higher passenger traffic volumes, net retail sales, ferry transportation fees and fuel surcharges. Year-to-date, revenue was $608.0 million, up $62.0 million over the same period in the prior year primarily as a result of higher traffic volumes, net retail sales and fuel surcharges partially offset by lower Safe Restart Funding.
New fare choices, including advance purchase saver fares (available on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island and the Metro Vancouver – Sunshine Coast routes) are contributing to increased vehicle traffic on traditionally lower utilized sailings and fewer sailing waits overall. Since March 2021, over 1 million customers have taken advantage of Saver fares.
During the three months ending September 30, 2022, expenses from operations increased by $25.6 million or 11 per cent to $248.9 million compared to the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date, expenses from operations increased $56.9 million or 13 per cent to $491.0 million, mainly due to an increased number of sailings, and corresponding higher labour costs and fuel consumption, as well as higher fuel costs and higher depreciation.
Capital expenditures in the three and six months ending September 30, 2022 totalled $22.4 million and $48.9 million respectively, and included investments in existing ships, hardware upgrades, and various other projects.
In December 2020, BC Ferries received $308.0 million from the Province as part of the provincial and federal governments’ Safe Restart Funding program. All of the direct operating relief funding has been exhausted with the remaining funding intended to offset the costs of discretionary sailings and to limit fare increases. In the three months ending September 30, 2022, BC Ferries recognized $3.1 million ($5.6 million year-to-date) of Safe Restart Funding compared to $2.8 million ($62.8 million year-to-date) in the same period in the prior year.