06/19/2015 06:16 EDT | Updated 06/19/2016 05:59 EDT

Higher net earnings needed to replace aging ships: BC Ferries president

VICTORIA - BC Ferries has announced a $30-million jump in net earnings so far this fiscal year compared to the same period in 2014.

Company president Mike Corrigan says that means fare increases will stay at or below projected inflation rates starting in 2016.

He says $49.1 million in earnings this year will help the company replace aging ships.

Corrigan says there were 5.1 per cent more vehicles and 4.2 per cent more passengers, an increase of 0.6 per cent and half a per cent respectively, compared to the last fiscal year.

He credited the higher U.S. dollar for attracting both American visitors and Canadians vacationing at home.

In releasing its first-quarter results last August, BC Ferries reported net earnings had tripled to $13.9 million from April to June compared to the same period a year earlier, partly due to higher fares.