A heavy request

Every now and then our colleagues receive requests that just stand out. As was the case when Cargo Sales & Marketing in Kiel took upon them to arrange the transportation of a generator in a weight class from the big league.

F.H. Bertling needed a 98 tonnes generator transported from Pilzen in the Czech Republic to Kazakhstan. Such requests are not entirely unusual for us, but due to the weight, they demand individual and intensive talks with terminals and vessels to coordinate down to the smallest detail. 

After approval from all relevant parties, we made an offer to Bertling which they agreed to and in the end the generator was shipped on Tuesday 12 January from Kiel to Klaipeda. 

From Czech Republic to Kazakhstan

What made this request interesting was the journey from production to the final destination. The generator was produced in Pilzen, Czech Republic. From there it was transported by a special roadtrain to Magdeburg where it was reloaded into a barge.

After navigating the river “Elbe” and the “Kiel-Canal” this barge delivered the heavy generator to Kiel on Tuesday 6 January. In Kiel it was reloaded onto DFDS-rolltrailer by the mobile pobrt crane for further shipment on our roro-vessel from Kiel to Klaipeda. In Klaipeda the generator was loaded onto wagon and transported by rail to its final destination to Kazakhstan, to one of the largest oil producers there. 

We have received positive feedback from Bertling. Especially on the one-point customer contact and care provided by Wiebke Störte and Anja Kock. Thanks a lot to all the involved in Kiel, Klaipeda and off course the vessels on the route. 

Meet the crew: Julius Griška

This time we meet Julius GriškaJulius has a life story is remarkable. He has lived in four countries. He acquired his current qualification by coincidence. He has prepared food for thousands of cruise ferry passengers, completed an apprenticeship at a Michelin-rated restaurant owned by a world-famous chef and cooked for the likes of the previous Prime Minister of Lithuania and Formula One champions during a race event. 

He now works on board Regina Seaways and, in his own words, he feels like he is living a dream. Ideal schedule, a job he is passionate about and the opportunity to have some alone time. Just like in his previous career, today Julius works in the kitchen. He claims that the most important thing to understand about working in the kitchen is it is not about an individual but rather about working as a team. If someone faces difficulties, you must give them a hand.  

Chef by coincidence 

Since early days, I really enjoyed cooking. And, of course, eating. However, my life ambition was to work in car repairs and to become a vehicle technician. After graduating from secondary school, I moved to Dublin where I took some odd jobs before I decided to pursue vocational training. The study group for a technician training programme was already, however, there was a chef training group still open for enrolment at the other end of the corridor. This was how I ended up becoming a chef, all by coincidence” says Julius. 

How I see my job 

When I started working aboard cruise ferries, I realized that I do not suffer from any kind of sea-sickness, even though I have sailed through rough sea conditions. This probably explains my longing for the sea that I felt as soon as I got home. 

There is a world of difference between my current and previous jobs. There are thousands of customers and a kitchen staff of 60 people aboard a cruise ship compared to just six of us working on board Regina. But I can firmly say that I am actually living my dream here! On cruise ships, we worked for 4 months followed by 2 months of shore leave. Thus, while working here, I never feel exhausted. In the beginning, I even took some extra work after I came back from the sea. I no longer do that. Now I devote all of my free time to myself. I really like the fact that we have very clear boundaries here. You work, you get your shore leave and then you simply forget about your job. You do not take work stress home with you. 

When the pandemic hit, the pace of life has slowed for many of us. I realized that there is no point in running yourself ragged. I’m about to turn 40 and I spent my entire life trying to get somewhere frantically. 

In my freetime 

I enjoy living an active lifestyle. I like sports, walking, mushroom hunting, fishing, basketball and football. I am equally comfortable just sitting in my armchair and watching TV for hours on end, without even taking a shower.

Baltics ready for Christmas

Even though there is still a little way until Santa Claus is coming to town (unless the travel restrictions stop him), our colleagues on our Baltic routes are eager to help our passengers get into the holiday spirit. To do that, all the Baltic ferries have been filled with festive decorations and cozy light displays to brighten up these dark winter nights. Please enjoy some examples in the pictures.

“Till mid-January, we are offering a free present wrapping service for anyone who shops at our onboard stores. We are ready with festive bags and boxes and are excited to offer this service to our customers during the holiday period. Several fortunate passengers will also get to go home with one of the seven DFDS-souvenirs in the Christmas Lottery where anyone buying for 50EUR and more at the shop can participate,” says Vilma Songailaitė, OBS Communications and Marketing Manager.

We want to give our passengers a great holiday experience while keeping them safe and with these decorations we hope to see them more relaxed and lightened up when they disembark. 

New art on Baltic ferries

BU Baltic Passenger has recently launched another art exhibition. This time compelling paper collages by local artist Donata Buivydė will decorate the six passenger ferries in the Baltics until March 2021. 

 Vilma Songailaite, Communications and Marketing Manager, is excited to look for artists and organise the semi-annual art exhibitions. She says: “It is really a win-win for all. We get to use our space to show passengers the diverse creativity in the Baltics and talented local artists like Donata get an opportunity to showcase their art. 

Her collage cycle “Experience the Horizon” invite the viewer to look at everything from a perspective and reflect on what really matters and what doesn’t matter at all. It also depicts a horizon that symbolise promiseIt is always somewhere far away and inaccessible.   

Donata Buivydė saysWhen I got an invitation from DFDS to create a special set of collages, I literally squealed out of excitement.  

amproud that for the next six months my exhibition will travel between Lithuania, Germany, Sweden and Estonia! Huge thank you to DFDS for this opportunity and trust in my creativity! 

Donata from Šilutė in Lithuania was a finalist in the national competition “ReStart 2020” and exhibited her work at the Prospect Gallery in Vilnius. You can see more of Donata’s work on www.collagelikepicasso.com or follow her on Instagram at @collage_like_picasso. Her exhibition for DFDS can be found here.

Karlshamn-Klaipeda improves service

Per-Henrik Persson, Route Director, and Optima Seaways

DFDS is adding two weekly departures from both ports to the schedule to offer customers increased flexibility. Sailing times are reduced by up to an hour.

In spite of the Covid-19 situation, ferry services between Lithuania and Sweden continue servicing our customers without entry restrictions for freight units and lorry drivers, and from 1 October, DFDS is adding two weekly sailings to our schedule between Klaipeda and Karlshamn.

“The number one topic for customers of ferry freight services is always increased frequency, and this is even more true for DFDS’ Klaipeda-Karlshamn route. And the two extra departures we are now introducing from both ports will bring our customers more flexibility to plan their exports and transports at a time when we all need support to bring our businesses through the Covid-19 crisis in the best possible way,” says Per-Henrik Persson, Route Director.

The extra sailings will take place on Saturday and Sunday and bring the number of weekly departures up to 11 per week. In addition, sailing time has been reduced by an hour in general. See the new schedule here.

The extra Saturday sailings have already started, and the new schedule will be fully implemented from 1 October.

The ships serving the route are Victoria Seaways, Optima Seaways, Finlandia Seaways and Ark Futura and there are stringent measures on board to prevent virus spread.

DFDS increases sailings on Estonia – Sweden

Anders Refsgaard and Patria Seaways

DFDS is increasing capacity and customer service significantly on our freight and passenger ferry route between Paldiski in Estonia and Kapellskär in Sweden from 4 October.
This means that the number of departures will increase from 14 per week to 22.

“The trend in freight and passenger volumes remains strong on the route, and for a long time, our customers have requested more capacity and higher frequency. I am really pleased that we can now offer this with two daily departures in each direction nearly every day,” says Anders Refsgaard, Vice President and Head of DFDS’ Baltic operations.

The extra sailings will be performed by the freight and passenger ferry Patria Seaways, assisting Sirena Seaways, the current ferry on the route.

Paldiski – Hanko to close
Patria Seaways will be moved to Paldiski – Kapellskär from the Paldiski – Hanko route.

“Unfortunately, this means that we will close the service between Paldiski and Hanko, where there has been a steady decline in demand and volumes. Instead, we can offer our Finland – Estonia customers transport on the Tallinn – Helsinki and Muuga – Vuosaari routes,” says Anders.

The changes will not affect staff numbers.

New presence on Baltic booking sites

The biggest travel agency in Estonia, Estravel AS, owns the only local ferry booking marketplace platforms in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Up until early September, it wasn’t possible to purchase DFDS ferry tickets via the platforms. With the work done during the latest years, DFDS is now represented among all our other competitors in the region.  

Rene Pärt, Sales Manager, says: “We use FerryGateway that ensures direct connection between ferry operators and travel agents so the end customer gets all the information about available services from different ferry operators through the platform directly.  

FerryGateway sales channel was not used in the Baltics before, so we had some challenges with integrating it to the Estravel sites, making the process a true rollercoaster. I am glad that we finally overcame the last obstacles and launched the cooperation. This shows that hard work and preserverance does pay off. “  

“This gives the rich opportunity to widen our cooperation with Estravel throughout all three Baltic countries and increase our presence in the market. Even though Covid-19 impacts the volumes from the leisure sector, we still have the opportunity to grow together with Estravel AS“ says Rene. 

“After struggling for a long time with getting Estravel live with a direct integration with DFDS through FerryGateway, I am very pleased to see that we are live and the first bookings have started to come in. This shows excellent cooperation between the different stakeholders within the Passenger organisation and will be a great opportunity to grow business on our Baltic routes” says Catharina Hallberg, Head of Global Partnerships. 

Improving the Baltics customer experience

How about starting your voyage with the scent of fresh brewed coffee? Recently, our coffee supplier on the Baltic routes, Vero Coffee, visited our ferries to train the crew in the way of a barista. The guests are also offered to purchase the DFDS branded packages of coffee beans also supplied by Vero Coffee. It is a new and unique cross-selling opportunity. In addition, this autumn, Linas Lesauskas from the Baltic Onboard Sales team is bringing new variations to our ferries, such as Cherry Mocca or Spiced Chai Latte.

How about some chocolate?
Robertas Kogelis, Director of Terminal Operations & Onboard Sales, says: “Goda Baltuonė, Baltic Retail Category Manager, invited DFDS crews and shore staff to visit the chocolate factory, Rūta, who supply us with chocolate. We learned about the production and tried to make it ourselves without eating it all in the process. This gave the shop assistants from our Baltic ferries a better insight into the product that we can share with interested passengers.”


Our colleagues learning to make tasty chocolate at the chocolate factory, Rūta. No golden ticket needed.

Safety – always the highest priority
“It’s great to see that we are able to educate our crew to improve customer experience, however, our highest priority will always be to make our passengers feel safe. It is now mandatory to wear masks onboard DFDS ferries, so in addition to plenty of options to sanitize and maintain social distancing, we now offer DFDS branded face masks for those who need it” says Robertas


Showing off the new DFDS branded face masks.

“We carry fewer passengers and drivers on our Baltic ferries compared to the same period last year, however our Shop/Retail revenue remains strong. Spend per guest onboard in the stores has increased by 25% vs 2019, which is a remarkable achievement and it proves we offer the right travel retail product mix for our customers”

Baby born on Regina Seaways

Last weekend was exceptional for the Regina Seaways crew – a baby girl was born on a sailing from Klaipėda to Kiel.

It was early Saturday morning, 4:16 to be exact, that a passenger gave birth to a baby girl in a cabin. The ferry was in mid sail to Kiel as a woman started to feel that she was about to give birth. The crew followed the procedures and made an announcement asking for any doctors on board. A German paediatrician answered the call and together with Head of Services Indrė Vaškytė she welcomed the baby in the cabin.

The captain called for help from the shore, and a helicopter from Poland took the baby and the mother to the nearest hospital.

According to the father of the newborn, who was also on the ferry, it was a preterm birth so the baby had to be placed into an incubator. Fortunately both mother and daughter are healthy and fine.

“It was truly an extraordinary event. We can only be thankful and happy that all went well. I cannot be prouder of the crew and of course Head of Services Indrė Vaškytė, who demonstrated sharp thinking and no hesitation in this situation. Of course, many thanks to the doctor who was on board, too. The crew is now joking that the captain should be her godfather, and that the baby girl ought to be named Regina,” says On-board Operations Supervisor Karolis Dobrovolskas.

Wi-Fi service on select Baltic ferries

Starting this summer, Wi-Fi service is available on select ferries, both in public commercial areas and in cabins. Passengers can choose to buy Wi-Fi for one hour, three house or the entire trip, as well as benefit from a group package offer.

“We are not simply catching up but taking a step further. One of the upcoming projects to be launched this year is the Onboard Entertainment Portal with a media library and trip information like campaigns, location, etc. Even though COVID-19 affected our installation plans quite heavily – lots of things had to be coordinated remotely, travel and shipment arrangements had to be re-adjusted – the great collaboration between Fleet management, Deck & Engine and our partners resulted in a successful project. Thanks to Sergej Duriagin and Christian Bagger for their help and expertise!“ says Linas Lesauskas, Project Manager, BU Baltic.

Telenor Maritime has been the leading global communication operator at sea since 2004. The secure connectivity platform serves multiple wireless and access technologies, provides mobile coverage, internet and backhaul for the maritime industry.

Kate Smeland Kundsen, Telenor Sales Manager Ferry at Telenor Maritime explains: “Our service portal can facilitate many added-value functions such as upselling merchandise, advertising, messaging passengers, room service, ship tracking, ticket integration, and ‘find your cabin.’ Future services like Video on Demand, music, books, and shopping will continuously be included. This summer we are set to launch our new and improved landing page for onboard Wi-Fi services. It comes with a revised design to make it more user-friendly and with unique value-adding features opening up for new and exciting business models, services, and co-marketing opportunities for both DFDS Baltic and third parties. All in all, actively supporting the ambition to make your fleet even more attractive to passengers. That’s your advantage of us leading the evolution of secure connectivity at sea.”

Local artists beautify Baltic ferries

How can we support local talent while decorating our ferries with thoughtful, eye-catching art? That’s the idea behind this summer’s rotating art collection featuring local artists’ work on all DFDS Baltic’s Lithuanian and Estonian ferries.

“We want to show the creativity of the region to our diverse range of passengers“, says Vilma Songailaitė, OBS Communications and Marketing Manager.

This new art tradition kicked off with a series of black and white photographs by Lithuanian artist INGAJA (Inga Mikulėnė).

Born and raised in Klaipėda, Inga is a singer-songwriter whose art and music reflect the local natural and cultural landscape. “My photograph series features landscapes and the sentiment of wilderness which is the core of my photography, and is a call to notice and appreciate nature’s beauty all around us“, Inga explains.

 

INGAJA‘s exhibition is on until November 2020.

Contact Vilma Songailaitė to learn more about this creative initiative.

Ferry changes in the Baltics

To gear up in the Northern Baltics and manage capacity more efficiently in the Baltics, the newly returned Sirena Seaways embarked on her first sailing on her new route between Paldiski – Kapellskär taking over from Optima Seaways that was repositioned to Klaipėda-Karlshamn.

Additionally, as M/S Sailor’s charter agreement will soon expire, Patria Seaways will take over Sailor‘s schedule for the Paldiski-Hanko and Paldiski- Kapellskär routes, starting from Week 28.

Rene Pärt, Baltic Sales & Partnership Manager, says, “We are establishing ourselves in the Northern Baltic Sea region by changing both of our vessels in Estonia with bigger and better ones to continue servicing our wide customer base on Paldiski-Kapellskär.

“Swapping ferries inbetween routes involve complex processes, from crew changes and adjusting onboard concepts as well as complying to a different set of requirements when calling various ports” says Robertas Kogelis, Baltic Onboard Sales Director.

“The Customer Care teams completed several adjustments to customer bookings within a short span of time. I am very proud how our teams in Estonia, Lithuania and Sweden, including colleagues on our ferries, Baltic Onboard and Crewing departments, handled these changes.”

The new setup provides more flexible tonnage opportunities for our freight customers on the Klaipėda-Karlshamn route and with Patria and Sirena sailing from Paldiski, they will ensure an efficient mix of passenger and freight capacity in the Northern Baltic. This will surely accommodate the growing demand in the region while delivering consistent service to our guests on board”.


Optima Seaways will operate on the Klaipėda-Karlshamn route


Patria Seaways will take over Sailor‘s schedule for the Paldiski-Hanko and Paldiski- Kapellskär routes, starting from Week 28. 

Krantas Travel to close

“We have tried to find a new owner for the agency, but the travel market has been so affected by COVID-19 and changed travel patterns that this has been impossible,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of the Ferry Division’s BU Baltic.

The coronavirus crisis has also left its mark on travel patterns in the Baltic and has worsened sales of passenger travel. This has greatly affected sales of the DFDS-owned travel agency Krantas in Lithuania.

“We have tried to find a new owner for the agency, but the travel market has been so affected by COVID-19 and changed travel patterns that this has been impossible. Unfortunately, this means that we will have to say goodbye to 27 colleagues working in the agency,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of the Ferry Division’s BU Baltic.

Jonas Nazarovas, MD of DFDS in Lithuania, says: “This is truly a sad day for us. The agency was established in 1998, and has since then grown from being a small agency into a highly regarded agency with offices in Lithuania’s three biggest cities, Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda. I want to stress that this has nothing to do with the performance of our colleagues in the agency. They have all done a great job, but the market has nearly disappeared completely with COVID-19. And I’m grateful for all the team’s resilience in the face of adversity and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.”

Klaipeda Shipping Logistics beats records

From left to right: Andrej Katkov, Timuras Kontrauskas, and Lina Martinaviciene with the mafi shaped cake.

Klaipeda Shipping Logistics breaks volume records in March, April, and May.

The team of three, led by Timuras Kontrauskas, managed to ship an astounding 14500 tons of sawn timber in March, April and May on our Klaipeda – Fredericia route. That is 6300 tons more compared to last year.

Alisa Paivina, Freight Commercial Director, says: “Following the lockdown, major markets across Europe and transportation was put on hold, which didn’t stop the Klaipeda shipping logistics team from securing a record deal to transport sawn timber from Lithuania to Denmark.”

“It took persistence and resilience from Lina Martinaviciene, Key Account Manager of Praslas UAB to talk the costumer out of using a bulk vessel for these volumes. Working from home, she together with Christian Pedersen, Office Manager in Fredericia, have managed to keep the route busy and the customer happy.”

Timuras Kontrauskas, says: “We are thankful to our colleagues in Denmark and Aleksej Slipenciuk, Route Director, who had to get creative and divert some of our trailer customers via Kiel to make space for empty returning mafis. Working with fewer resources while at home, didn’t stop us from breaking the record against all odds, and I am already looking forward to breaking new records in the future”.

As shown on the pictures, the records were celebrated yesterday with a mafi shaped cake.

New Commodore cabins on Patria

Before and after pictures of the commodore cabins. Thank you to Karolis Dobrovolskas, Operations Manager, and Vilma Songailaite, Marketing & Communications Manager, for sharing the pictures.

This spring, the BU Baltic Onboard department started collaborating with an established Baltic designer Darius Budrys to improve some of the interior spaces on the BU Baltic vessels.

Karolis Dobrovolskas, Operations Manager, says, “On top of the usual wear and tear routine interior projects, we are also implementing significant upgrades and improvements to our public spaces and premium cabins for the wellbeing and comfort. Now that our first project of renovating two premium class cabins on Patria Seaways is complete, we are very pleased with the final result.

The designer Budrys explains that it was an interesting challenge to work on the interior design in a ship. He says: “We love challenges and enjoy working on complicated projects, so upgrading Patria’s cabins was one of the exciting ones. I do not limit my work to only the design side. I love participating in the projects from the concept to the very end, when we make sure the pillows sit right, and the curtains are all aligned perfectly.”

The cabins are a perfect combination of both stylish and practical solutions: expandable coffee tables, couches, reading lights conveniently attached to the bed. “We installed Contardi Italia Lighting reading lamps to add practicality, but also style. I work with Contardi on our five star hotel projects, and we hope that the passengers staying in the Commodore cabins enjoy the equally excellent service,” says Budrys.

The BU Baltic Onboard team looks forward to new projects that continue to bring fresh looks and high-quality accommodations.

More pictures of the new commodore cabins:

Sirena Seaways back in Klaipėda

Sirena Seaways departing from Klaipėda

After a five year-charter with Brittany Ferries, Sirena Seaways is back in Klaipėda where she arrived directly from the yard in Gdansk on Thursday last week. Sirena is replacing Liverpool Seaways on the Klaipėda-Karlshamn route where she will sail along with Athena and Patria.

Per-Henrik Persson, Route & Agency Director, says: “I’m very happy to welcome Sirena Seaways back to the Baltic. She fits very well into the network with good cargo and especially passenger capacity where she offers very generous and nice areas. She also has sufficient engine capacity, which will give us more flexibility. I sincerely believe that we, with our new combination of ships, will be able to take new steps and create a nice experience for our customers.”

With the addition of Sirena, we will from this week offer our customers nine weekly return sailings on Klaipėda-Karlshamn route.

Robertas Kogelis, Baltic Onboard Sales Director, adds: “The arrival of Sirena Seaways was highly anticipated in the BU Baltic, as we started preparations and adaptations of the Onboard concepts back in autumn 2019. The convenient public space arrangements enables DFDS to offer our customers enhanced dining and shopping options on two decks. With almost 200 cabins, including a selection for premium cabin upgrades or those travelling with pets, Sirena is the most spacious ferry in BU Baltic for both lorry drivers and regular passengers. There is a a Reading Lounge for those who wish to enjoy a quiet drink or just spend time with their favourite book with the Baltic sea view.”


Sirena Seaways


Sirena Seaways (left) and Patria Seaways in Klaipėda

DFDS adapts Northern Baltic ferry services to pandemic

DFDS reorganizes sailings in the Northern Baltic to adapt to the pandemic. “By letting the ferry on Estonia-Finland also perform sailings on Estonia-Sweden, we will be able to offer our customers evening departures in both directions every day. I am also confident that our customers will appreciate that we, due to an agreement with Eckerö Line, will be able to offer our customers transport on Eckerö Line’s Tallinn- Helsinki route,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic.

The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the production and service industries causes DFDS to optimize its ferry services in the Northern Baltic and adapt them to customer requirements.

“Therefore, we have decided to reduce the number of sailings by almost a half between the Estonian port of Paldiski and the Finnish port of Hanko following reduced demand on the route,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic.

“This will free up time for Sailor, the current ferry on the Paldiski-Hanko route so it can be used to improve our schedule between Paldiski and the Swedish Port of Kapellskär. With Sailor to assist Optima Seaways, which is currently the only ferry on the route, we will be able to offer our customers evening departures in both directions every day. This isn’t possible today with only one ferry,” he says.

“Due to Sweden’s different approach to fighting the pandemic, this route is experiencing steady demand for cargo transportation, and we are confident that our customers will be pleased with daily evening departures as it will enable them and their drivers to use their trucks much more efficiently and serve their customer even better,” Anders says.

Agreement with Eckerö Line
DFDS also signed a freight agreement with Eckerö Line for DFDS’ conditions for booking transport for our freight customers on Eckerö Line’s route between Muuga in Tallinn and Vuosaari in Helsinki. “This means we can offer a total of 30 departures per week between Estonia and Finland. This will greatly enhance our customer service,” says Anders.

“In the current situation, with the transport market challenged by a pandemic and economic downturn, I am pleased that we can now offer 30 departures per week between Estonia and Finland in total. This will greatly enhance our customer service in the transport market between Estonia and Finland.”


Sailor from the Paldiski -Hanko route will assist Optima Seaways on the Paldiski-Kapellskär (Sweden) route so there can be evening departures every day

Four teams move into new and modern Klaipėda office

On Board Sales, Passenger Marketing, Global Sales and Customer Care teams have moved into a new office building Klaipėda, to collaborate in an improved working environment.

 

Being together empowers!

Some of our colleagues from Lithuania ended the other week with a celebration. In early February a new office building built to the highest standards in energy efficiency became home for On Board sales, Passenger Marketing, Global Sales and Customer Care centre teams in Klaipėda.

The teams are excited as it’s a nice upgrade. The new office is in a perfect location – allowing people easily reach the port area or treat themselves to a lunch-break in the city centre.

Robertas Kogelis, Director for Klaipėda Terminal Operations & Baltic Onboard Sales, says: “For the past year these teams were working in separate offices. Gathering them in one spacious environment full of natural lighting is going to play a huge role in creative solutions and joint projects.”

“By the looks of it, it does appear to be the best available modern office space in town, and it was just finished in 2019, so well done for securing this for DFDS. It has been our ambition to merge these teams to secure collaborative spirit and efficient communication, to ensure we are aiming for the Baltic routes business goals together as a strong team. Cross-functional activities are now easier to carry out for this bunch of fantastic colleagues. We can also have fun together here, as we throw an opening party or stay in shape with our ‘February Step Challenge’, in addition to achieving great results.”

The office opening ceremony also turned out to be great chance to build up a team spirit as they organised and hosted the whole event by themselves.

Facts about the building
– Spacious working environment with lots of natural light.
– A+ energy class building space. Solar powered with advanced architectural solutions and fully autonomous systems to circulate air and save energy.
– Careful use of materials to prevent 37% of direct sunlight, reducing need for both cooling and air conditioning over changing seasons.
– The office is divided into two parts, with customer care placed by itself to reduce the levels of noise for the other teams.
– Great kitchens and lounge zone as well as plenty of meeting rooms.
– Electric vehicle charging in the parking zone.

All these features support DFDS in living up to our standards of reducing our environmental footprint and being a caring employer.

“This responsible approach was key when selecting the premises,“ says Robertas.

IT and Baltic Passenger Business Drivers collaborate in Klaipeda

From the left Laura Neimetaite (Product Owner), Abdul Arafh (developer), Mikkel Dam-Larsen (developer), Martin Bundgaard (developer), Mauricio Guevara Souza (developer), Ida Rasmussen (Business Analyst)

Last week six members of the Seabook scrum team named Passenger Ships, also known as The Doors, sailed with Patria Seaways on the Karlshamn – Klaipeda route to meet with BU Baltic Business Drivers.

The purpose of the trip was to map customer journeys on BU Baltic routes from purchasing a ticket to disembarkation, with focus on check in, boarding, accessing a cabin, and redeeming pre-paid services. The aim was to identify the process, hardware and software changes needed to roll out upgraded door locks with new technology.

In Karlshamn, Customer Service Manager Katrin Arvidsson gave them a tour at the Port of Karlshamn. During the tour, developers and check-in staff shared tips and experiences. As a result, developers took home a quick improvement to be implemented once they are back, whilst check in staff got a tip on how to get a printer up and running after a jam 1,5 to 2 min faster.

“There is so much knowledge to be shared and gained visiting locations that use applications supported by us” says Mauricio Guevara Souza, developer in the Doors team.


Passenger Ships scrum team on the tour in the engine room on Patria Seaways

Designing solutions together
“On Partria Seaways we learned about guest service center operations, observed navigation in the dark on the bridge, and were dazzled by the powerful and rough composure of the engine room. Thank you to all the staff members who took excellent care of us” says Laura Neimetaite, Product Owner in the development team.

She continues: “We kept passengers in focus throughout the process of designing the improved experience that the new door locks will enable. Whilst minimizing check in time, overall costs, and ensuring process consistency across routes were, similarly, crucial parts of the puzzle”.

With their focus, engagement, and open mindedness in the session, BU Baltic Business Drivers’ Linas Lesauskas and Gintaras Laucius and key user Kristijanas Kiseliovas as well as the development team were key to producing the desired outcome.

“I believe that transparency and communication between IT department and business owners is the key to success when designing such high impact solutions and choosing technologies. We were happy, that the development team decided to come and see the business on site” says Linas Lesauskas, Business Driver for onboard sales.

“It took us 1,5 days to design the desired customer experience for both freight and tourist passengers given the capabilities of the new door lock technology. It was a long but rewarding process, that not only provided clarity of the scale and specifics of required technical and process changes, but even more importantly, their implications and impact“ explains Gintaras, Business Driver for ports and check-in.


Working on the customer journey map for Business Unit Baltic routes. Left Kristijanas Kiseliovas (Terminal Operations Supervisor), right Linas Lesauskas (BUB  Business Driver for on board services)

“The trip from setting foot in Karlshamn, experiencing onboard customer journey, walking through freight and passenger check-in in Klaipeda, to being locked in a room for 1,5 days with business drivers has been invaluable. Only when business challenges and realities are fully explained and understood can the best IT solutions be designed” says Laura.

Real-life presentation of interior design for Baltic newbuildings

Here is how the Ro-Pax ships will look on the inside.

 

We now see that the steel and piping production is really picking up in for our freight and passenger newbuilding project in Guangzhou, China. And this week, we passed an important milestone with the first inspection of the so-called mock-up of the accommodation.

A Mock-up is a full scale model of parts of the accommodation built up at the shipyard using the real materials. This enables the owner (in this case DFDS) to inspect the accommodation design in “real life”. Even with use of computer animations, advanced computer programs etc., nothing beats a ”look and feel” experience.

The mock-up is being built and outfitted by the shipyard and the accommodation suppliers in cooperation so we can evaluate the design and make necessary corrections for the items not living up to our expectations. Furthermore, the mock-up will serve as quality and workmanship reference during the construction. This means that if things aren’t done to our satisfaction, we can refer to the mock-up. Therefore, a mock-up is an important “tool” and will be kept on the shipyard during the entire construction process.

Representatives from BU Baltic, Brand and of course Newbuilding & Major Conversions, were present at the mock-up inspection along with the external interior architect company Steen Friis Design from Copenhagen.

It went well, and only few things need to be changed. As the yard and the accommodation supplier have been extremely busy preparing the mock-up on time and have worked almost 24 h per day up to the mock-up inspection, we had some doubt whether they could finish on time. But they did, and they were ready for the inspection.

The photos will give you an impression of the looks of our new great Ro-Pax ferries, but please remember: It is only the first mock-up so there will be changes, and you will have to wait and see the final result. But we are confident you won’t be disappointed.

Site team to grow

Manning on the site team will also be gradually increased over the coming months in line with production picking up. Currently, there are 10 persons on the site team including Steen Haurum, Jens Monk and Morten Fenger from DFDS, and the other site team members from OSM.

Jesper Aagesen, Director of Newbuilding & Major Conversions

See more photos below:

BU Baltic: Free training for on-board staff

The staff on board our Baltic ships benefit greatly from free training provided by our suppliers.

Vaidas Krūmas, Food & Beverage Manager, says: “Due to the rapidly changing market, and in order to meet our customers’ expectations, it is very important for our on-board staff to continuously update their knowledge and skills. Therefore, we often cooperate with local suppliers who, as an additional service to the company, provide free training for on-board staff, while at the same time ensuring better sales results for their own products. This is a great example of a win-win situation.”

Recently, a traditional Bonduelle event for galley staff took place on board Patria Seaways. The staff were introduced to several new ingredients, and also had a demonstration of how to use them in a variety of dishes.

Vaidas says: “The legendary Lithuanian chef, Ruslan Bolgov, was invited to lead this event. It was a valuable experience for the kitchen staff to watch the work of a kitchen virtuoso, and to develop their own creativity in cooking. Ruslan presented 14 great recipes that can easily be included in the seasonal buffet menu and, at the end of the event, there was a traditional food tasting. Everyone, including the DFDS shore staff, was pleasantly surprised by the culinary novelties.”

Other local producers, whose products are being sold in the on-board shops, are also well aware of the importance of presentations and tastings of their new products, and they are happy to organise one-day seminars on board or ashore.

Goda Baltuone, Category Retail manager, says: “The more knowledge our employees are given, the more they trust their own professionalism, and then they obtain better sales results. For example, following a presentation of new products organised by the local spirits manufacturer Pakruojo Dvaras, we noticed that sales of these drinks increased eight-fold.”

“Bar staff development is also a focus area. This summer, we decided to expand the range of drinks served at the bar by adding alcoholic cocktails, and one of our main beverage suppliers, Mineraliniai Vandenys, helped organise a special master class led by the well-known spirits guru Rapolas Vareika for our bartenders. During the training, our staff gained valuable information about local and foreign drinks, and practised preparing various cocktails in line with world trends.”

“We are delighted that the combined efforts of DFDS and our suppliers are helping to improve customer satisfaction and ensure stable business growth while We move for all to grow.”

 

New coffee brand on Baltic ships

 

To meet the demand for quality coffee on board our Baltic vessels, and thereby create more value for passengers by developing on-board experiences (set out in Pillar D of Win23), the BU Baltics Onboard Department has entered into partnership with a leading Lithuanian coffee brand, Vero Café.

Linas Lesauskas, Project Manager, BU Baltic, says: “More and more passengers value specialty coffee, and not only coffee enthusiasts but also ordinary consumers are developing into curious coffee gourmets looking for an aromatic experience, not just an energy source.”

“In the past, ferry passengers used to choose between black coffee and coffee with milk. Now, however, almost all ferry passengers will be able to find everything from classic espresso made from specially roasted beans to flat white or caramel latte macchiato made with natural milk and freshly ground coffee. A survey revealed that people are missing out on quality food choices in their vehicles while travelling and such a change in the range of coffee available should contribute to solving this problem.”

The BU Baltics team not only wanted to use better ingredients but also to invest in modern equipment and to gain more knowledge and skills. By choosing Vero Café as their partner, they have ensured a constant supervision of coffee making on board by specialists, and in addition to that they have arranged high-level brewing training led by coffee guru Darius Vėželis for the ferry bar staff.

“For many people, coffee is a ritual, and a cup of espresso after dinner or lunch is a very important moment that can crown or ruin the whole experience. So even if this might sound like a minor change, we expect this initiative to have great influence on the customer experience. Secondly, it is a great opportunity for our staff to grow and develop new skills. When choosing Vero Café as our partner, we also chose a package that demands trained staff. The equipment itself isn‘t worth much without dedicated staff to operate it,” says Linas.

 

Klaipėda participates in World Tourism Day

On 27 September during World Tourism Day, our colleagues in Klaipėda collaborated with the Klaipėda Tourism and Culture Information Centre and invited people to visit Athena Seaways, which sails on the Karlshamn – Klaipėda route

This year, World Tourism Day raised awareness of tourism’s potential to create and ensure employment that increases social inclusion, peace and security.

Karolis Dobrovolskas, Operations Manager, says: “We had three groups of 25 that was each given a tour on board showing the different cabins, bars and restaurants as well as the ever-popular visit on the bridge. It is always great to contribute with some informative, yet entertaining, activities to the local community. And I hope some of the younger visitors were inspired to work at DFDS at some point in their lives.

“Tours like these help us create awareness of who we are, what we are doing and what we can offer to our customers. The collaboration with local stakeholders ensures that the event attracts many visitors.”

Klaipeda launches breakfast meetings for new colleagues

Starting work in a new place can be rich with new experiences and impressions, and it can also be a good opportunity for DFDS to consider a fresh take on the onboarding process and how it might be improved. In Klaipeda, our Lithuanian colleagues have launched a new initiative to enable new colleagues to settle in.

Robertas Kogelis, Director of Terminal Operations & Onboard Sales in Klaipeda, says “We want to make sure that every new colleague has a good reception and a welcoming start to their DFDS journey. To ensure this, Karolis Dobrovolskas, Onboard Operations Supervisor, and I have launched a monthly breakfast meeting for new colleagues to support their integration into the company. Everyone is welcome, whether it is terminal operations staff, a bartender or a chef assistant on board our ferries. So far, Karolina Rudžionytė, student assistant, has facilitated and arranged two sessions.

Karolis says: “In comfortable surroundings, with great coffee and a tasty breakfast, we reflect on our new colleagues‘ initial experiences of DFDS, and how they are finding their first months. The management also joins in for a chat and answers questions, while listening to ideas on how to improve everyday processes, and gaining key feedback from new colleagues about how they are finding working at DFDS.“