running with scissors

BC Ferries is in cost cutting mode, citing a year over year drop of roughly 5% in traffic levels across the board, CEO David Hahn says the corporation is adopting tactics to bring expenses in line with revenue. In January, the company shed 35 senior management positions, along with 7 shore based unionized workers who accepted severance packages.

At the end of their fiscal year, the company posted a sharp decrease in net earnings, year over year, even though revenues were up. Mr. Hahn cites high capital expenditures, and their financing, for the lower earnings. The company has been spending lots on new ships, and ongoing capital improvements at their terminals in the last few years, including three new vessels last year alone. Regardless, the company is concerned about the downward shift in traffic and feels they need to take aggressive measure to counteract the downturn.

BC Ferries had to apologized to its union a few days ago, seems they forgot to tell them about their other cost cutting plans. Local media had earlier reported that the 7pm sailing out of Nanaimo (and the 9 pm out of Vancouver) would be cut during the slower winter season, to generate savings for the company. Unionized BCFWU workers will of course be affected by these service cuts, and union leaders found it discouraging to hear it from the media, instead of the company.

Meanwhile the Queen of Prince Rupert, Queen of Vancouver, and Queen of Saanich, a trio of ships, born back in the sixties, are up for sales. Disposing of these aging and surplus assets are sure to free up some money as well for the company. In the press release, BC Ferries did not list an asking price, citing market forces will dictate the sale price. Translation, please take them off our hands… quickly!

And finally, BC Ferries pulled back the curtain last week, on their brand new “command” facilities. Manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and deep in the bowels of the Fort Street headquarters of the company, so I imagine, is the Operations and Security Centre (OSC). The new $9 million dollar facility brings all of the company’s monitoring capabilities into a single room.

The idea is to provide a bird’s eye view of the operation across the wide BC geography, and better make decisions in time of crisis, heavy traffic loads or unscheduled occurrences in the system. Good on them. Here is a handout picture from BC Ferries of the new facility. The company says they have been ramping up safety and security matters, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. You can read another article about it here.

Notice the lack of capital letter in the post’s title – we are also cost cutting on extra sized pixels in the spirit of things.

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