Increased operating expenses as a result of higher labour costs and increased sailings have saddled B.C. Ferries with a net loss of $8.3 million in the third fiscal quarter.
The loss comes despite revenue for the three-month period that ended Dec. 31 increasing by $3.2 million with $210.9 million compared to the same quarter last year. Operating expenses increased to $205.7 million, an increase of $7.4 million compared to the same quarter last year.
Year to date, B.C. Ferries reported a profit of $98.9 million through the first three quarters of 2019, up from a profit of $93.2 million recorded at the same time in 2018.
The increase in operating expenses result partly from additional round trips agreed to with the provincial government.
That meant expanding the Central Coast seasonal route and increased service on the major routes to accommodate higher traffic volumes and improve the customer experience.
Mark Collins, B.C. Ferries chief executive, said the average rate increase of 2.3 per cent that will go into effect April 1, could jeopardize some of the corporation’s plans.
“We believe that this regulatory decision, being lower than we expected, may make it more challenging to achieve our corporate objectives, which include replacing our aging fleet, upgrading technology, providing operational resiliency and delivering improved customer service,” he said.
B.C. Ferries announced it has appointed Jill Sharland as its new vice-president and chief financial officer, replacing the retiring Alana Gallagher.
The change is effective March 2.
“Ms. Sharland has a proven track record of success and will be a welcome addition to our management team,” said Collins.