I've flipped through the BC Ferry Commissioner's Regulatory Review with some interest. I'll withhold comment for now on a majority of it, although I will suggest that many of the recommendations are a long time coming.
What grabbed me instantly, however, was the graph on page 18 of the report. From 2004 to 2011 the cost of maintenance has been virtually unchanged. That, in an environment where inflation has been driving costs up at a little over 2.3 percent per year.
If BC Ferries was carrying out the same level of fleet and terminal maintenance today that they were before they were flipped over to a profit model the cost of maintenance should have increased. Even if there were efficiencies, it would have been impossible to maintain ships to a high standard of reliability and safety without a scaled increase in maintenance costs.
The first thing to go when a shipping company cheaps out on maintenance is quality control. Inspection falls by the wayside. Small things go unnoticed. Pins are left out and nuts are not torqued down.