Wednesday, July 24, 2024
July 24, 2024

Letter: BC Ferries spends responsibly to build new vessels

This letter is in response to the June 19 “Build ferries closer to home” Viewpoint by Phil Venoit.

As we embark on a significant expansion of our capacity by building new major vessels to replace aging ships, it is critical that our decision-making process for selecting shipyards prioritizes technical excellence and competitive pricing.

Our customers have been very clear: affordability is their top priority, and we cannot justify passing on the cost of a contract that is not the most competitive, simply because the shipyard is local. In fact, building locally could cost hundreds of millions — or even billions — more.

We do recognize the importance of local investment for economic support and service reliability, but it must be balanced with affordability for our customers. BC Ferries invests $15 million annually in local shipyards like Seaspan and allocates $60 million for maintenance, totalling approximately $900 million over the next 12 years. These investments are key for fleet reliability and go a long way to be a good economic partner in this province.

As we look ahead to seeking bids to build these new major vessels later this summer, we encourage all eligible shipyards to submit competitive proposals that consider the financial pressures faced by British Columbians and that deliver the vessel reliability our customers expect.

Mr. Venoit is right on one point: as an essential public service, BC Ferries is committed to delivering reliable, affordable and integrated ferry services in British Columbia. The best way we can do that is by not asking our customers to pay higher fares as we build high-quality, safe ferries and deliver them on time.


Executive Director, Communications

BC Ferries

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