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.

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.“

New electric car for the operations team in Klaipėda

Alvydas Mačius, Terminal Operations Manager, charges the new electric car

The Klaipėda Terminal operations team performs various task for which a car is necessary. Therefore the team has purchased an electric vehicle – the NISSAN e-NV200 – which has zero-emissions and can travel up to 300 km on a full charge.

Terminal Operations Manager Alvydas Mačius says: “This mini-van is a perfect working tool for our terminal with a capacity of 4.2 m3. It is 100% electric, and we already have excellent facilities for charging the car, as the Central Klaipėda Terminal has a quick charging station near the office. This charging station will be able to charge the car for further use in about 40 minutes.
It is a good idea to use an electric car as it is ideal for short-distance driving and it is also a great opportunity to show to our customers that DFDS is always going with the latest technology.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, agrees: “I am very happy to see that the Klaipėda Terminal operations team has chosen this eco-friendly solution.”

Route Director Aleksej Slipenciuk to head Kiel, Fredericia and Oslo (freight) agencies

Aleksej Slipenciuk will be Director of BU Baltic’s Kiel and Fredericia agencies, as well as the freight agency in Oslo, in addition to his role as Route Director Kiel ‒ Klaipeda. He will report to Anders Refsgaard, VP & Head of BU Baltic.

Aleksej Slipenciuk will take on responsibility as Director of BU Baltic’s Kiel and Fredericia agencies, as well as the freight agency in Oslo, in addition to his roles as Route Director Kiel ‒ Klaipeda and Klaipeda – Copenhagen – Fredericia.

“I am very pleased that we can now introduce a permanent management of those agencies, following Jacob Andersen’s move to Rotterdam and Lars Hoffmann’s to Turkey. I am equally pleased that Aleksej has accepted this huge task, for which he is better suited than anyone I can think of. As a Route Director for the Kiel ‒ Klaipeda route since 2017, and with previous route responsibilities on his C.V., he brings extremely valuable experience with our customers and markets to his new job. He is well-known and respected by customers and colleagues alike, he is a very good manager of people, and good at setting a strategic direction, keeping a firm course and spreading trust and confidence in DFDS.

“I think we are lucky that we have been able to fill such a key position for our business with an internal candidate of Aleksej’s calibre, and I wish him all the best in his new and challenging role. I am also confident you will all support him the best you can in making the new management structure a success for BU Baltic and DFDS,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic.

Aleksej Slipenciuk (49) was born in Omsk, Russia, and graduated as a Marine Engineer in St Petersburg. Following some years at sea, he joined DFDS Baltic Line in Klaipeda in 1996 as a booking agent for the Klaipeda ‒ Fredericia ‒ Copenhagen route. Since DFDS acquired the Lithuanian shipping company Lisco, he has had a number of operational roles and route director responsibilities for the Klaipeda – Karlshamn and Kiel – St. Petersburg/Ust Luga routes. He was an MD for DFDS in St. Petersburg for five years until he was appointed to his current position as Route Director Klaipeda-Kiel in 2017.

Aleksej will be reporting to Anders Refsgaard, and as his office will be in Kiel, he will soon be moving to Germany.

The change takes effect from now, and agency staff were informed at staff meetings earlier today.

Alisa Paivina is new Freight Agency Director in Klaipeda

Alisa Paivina will be new Director of BU Baltic’s freight agencies in Klaipeda and Riga from 1 October and joins the BU Baltic management team. She will be reporting to Anders Refsgaard, VP and head of BU Baltic.

At DFDS, young and talented people have great opportunities to make fast career moves. Following her appointment as General Manager of freight sales in Klaipeda on 1 July, just two months ago, Alisa Paivina (34) will be the new Director of BU Baltic’s freight agencies in Klaipeda and Riga from 1 October, and will be joining the BU Baltic management team. She will report to Anders Refsgaard, VP and head of BU Baltic.

Alisa seems destined to take a leading role in a maritime trading business. She was born in Klaipeda, but completed her Master’s degree in Coastal and Marine Resource Management at the University of Portsmouth in the UK in record time, and then went straight to the European Commission as a trainee, working with maritime affairs and fisheries. In this role she benefited from having Russian as her native language, as Russia has shared interests with the EU in the Barents sea as well as South Atlantic. After her time as a trainee, she headed for Portugal where she worked on raising EU funds and increasing trade for Russian fishing companies. However, with her parents, grandfather and brother all living in Klaipeda, she decided to go back in 2014, and at the same time apply for a sales job with DFDS, and thus continue a long family tradition: her grandfather is a well-known figure on the Lithuanian maritime scene, and both her father and uncle work on DFDS ferries.

“In spite of her youth, Alisa has the experience of someone much older, and she has demonstrated that she is a very fast learner with a sharp mind. During her five years with BU Baltic, she has achieved an extensive knowledge of the market, customers and sales. Together with our skilled Agency team, I am sure she will be a success in her new role, and that you will all support her in growing sales,” says Anders Refsgaard.

“As with Aleksej Slipenciuk, I am extremely happy that there are strong internal candidates for such important management positions, and that we can offer such good challenges and career opportunities. I congratulate Alisa on her new job, which she will start on 1 October,” says Anders.

Staff were informed at a meeting in Klaipeda today.

BU Baltic: Seasonal surprises on board for families

“The entertainers were dressed as pirates and organised a really nice varied children’s programme,” says Irina Matulienė 

As we say: if the children are happy, the parents are happy too.
Approx. 10,000 children travel on the Baltic routes per year, and this number is growing. So to be on trend and keep focus on our little travellers, this year the on-board service team added some extra initiatives dedicated to children.

Irina Matulienė of the on-board marketing and communication team says: “Starting from the Easter period, all children aged 4-12 receive special welcome packs with various funny and educational games according to their age. Besides, on International Children’s Day on 9 June, for the first time a children’s entertainer ‘pirate’ was invited on board the Klaipėda – Kiel ferries to create even more positive emotions and great experiences with DFDS for the little ones. We got a lot of positive feedback from parents and therefore we decided to book eight round trips with children’s entertainers on the Klaipėda – Kiel route during July and August.”

“On these round trips, we had 620 kids on board who all had a wonderful time. The entertainers were dressed as pirates and organised a really nice varied children’s programme with a treasure hunt with prizes for the kids. The parents were also very pleased with the activities and participated in many of them together with their children. We think this initiative works very well and we plan to invite entertainers on board again for the next high season.”

 

It’s all about collaboration

Colleagues from marketing, the contact centre, onboard services and sales in Klaipėda gathered to build bridges

Last Friday, colleagues from marketing, the contact centre, onboard services and sales in BU Short Routes and Passenger located in Klaipėda gathered to build bridges, not only between each other but between departments too.

Arlandas Gibėža, Onboard Sales Manager, says: “One of the most powerful reasons for teambuilding is to get people involved in the process of creating bonds, which later turns into better, work-related, results. Our recent teambuilding event took place at the St Francis oncological centre, where we cleaned staircases and windows and helped with outdoor works. Not a single task was rejected and even heavy rain didn’t stop the action.”

“After that – also known as the fun part – the teams headed out of the city to a beautiful mansion where a scavenger hunt started. It took about six kilometres and two hours for the teams to solve all the tasks and find the hidden things. As it turned out, the things that the teams had found were the ingredients for their own dinner, so the evening ended by tasting delicious meals prepared by all the teams, from snacks to deserts. Food really brings people together. Thank you to all the participants for a wonderful and rewarding day.”

DFDS joined Sea Festival parade in sunny Klaipėda

DFDS joined the parade with a Latin theme as Klaipėda celebrated its 60th Sea Festival in late July

 

Last Friday the yearly Sea Festival took over the streets of Klaipėda for the 60th time, attracting thousands of citizens, guests and tourists from abroad for a weekend of celebrations. So, besides being a great event for the city, it is also a good platform to promote your company. The most important event of the first day is the Festival’s great parade.

Vaidas Klumbys, General Manager, Communications and PR, BU Baltic, says: “More than 8,000 people participated in the spectacle, amongst whom DFDS looked exceptional. The whole parade was more than four kilometres long. This year we chose a Latin American vibe and had a fantastic band and dancers who heated the blood, not only of our team but of the spectators as well as we passed. Ours was nominated as one of the 6 best parades, along with a special prize for our popular pink theme.”


“One of the main newspapers in Klaipėda put our photo on the front page, and we were briefly shown on the news programme on national TV. After the parade our employees spent some time together at the Cruise Terminal relaxing and sharing thoughts about the event,” says Vaidas.

In addition to the parade, our colleagues in Klaipėda also made life a little sweeter for ferry passengers during the festival. The hot weather made the perfect occasion to add to the merry mood in the terminal with free ice cream.


1,000 of the popular ‘Junga’ ice creams were given out to passengers on 25 and 26 July, which surprised travellers and made many of them, especially children, very happy

“We believe this initiative made a pleasant memory for our passengers, and also made for a more pleasant check-in waiting time and helped travellers cool down a bit in such hot weather. Many thanks to colleagues from the call centre, check-in and the marketing teams for the support and magnificent engagement,” says Kristijanas Kiseliovas, terminal operations supervisor.


The DFDS parade was given special recognition as one of the top 6 parades and also won a prize for ‘Fulfilled Pink Dream’

Temporary engine trouble for Patria meant delay to Karlshamn

As one of the main engines shut down, Patria Seaways was delayed en route to Karlshamn as a repair crew went onboard to resolve the issue.

 

On the evening of Sunday 28 July after departure from Klaipėda, one of the two main engines on Patria Seaways shut down as a safety measure when an oil mist detector went off.

The situation was brought under control and posed no danger to the 19 crew and 177 passengers on board. The vessel was manoeuvred by a bow thruster and anchor, and two tugs were called to assist by towing her to nearby Klasco.

“Superintendent Vladimir Babuchin assembled a team that quickly and efficiently repaired the engine en route to Karlshamn,” said Captain Andrej Zamkovoj, Director of Operations. The ferry departed from Klasco under the power of a single main engine.

Vaidas Klumbys, General Manager, PR & Communications, BU Baltic, said: “Vessel speed powered by a single main engine is around 12 knots, so it was possible to continue the voyage even with one of the two main engines out of service.”

Eventually the engine was back up and running, with a delay to the arrival in Karlshamn of around six hours.

Restaurant guests on Baltic routes treated to live music

In July dinner guests on Baltic routes can listen to lovely live music as part of a new initiative

 

In addition to healthier menu options, passengers on Baltic routes can now enjoy live background music to really enhance their dining experience.

Inspired by the positive feedback from passengers about a folk band performance on board on Midsummer’s Day, and by aiming to increase the satisfaction of DFDS passengers, the Onboard service team on Baltic routes have initiated trips in July with live music in the à la carte restaurant.

Irina Matulienė, Marketing & Communication Onboard, says: “Many passengers have asked about the live music performance. Taking into consideration the wishes of our passengers, we booked musicians for 10 round trips in July. We believe the background of live music will enrich the dining and give our restaurant guests an additional positive experience when travelling by sea with DFDS. Now we are monitoring passenger feedback in order to evaluate how this initiative is working and whether it should be continued next year.”

BU Baltic: Team-building and CSR go hand in hand

Lars Hoffmann & Peter Kristensen

On a sunny day in June, the BU Baltic management team gathered in Klaipėda for their annual team day. And this team day indeed stood out compared to the previous ones as the Training & Development department had organised a handyman work-day in the local organisation ‘Lakstute’, which takes care of disabled people.

Tatjana Kochetkova, Training & Development Consultant, says: “The management team were offered an extensive list of activities to choose from but not surprisingly, the team was ambitious enough to head for delivery of all tasks on the list, including: digging the 45 square metres of land for a mini-golf area, painting three garden houses, painting 200 square metres of the summer terrace and 100 square metres of fence.”

All the participants agreed that it had been a very fruitful experience which gave rise to many thoughts and reflections on humbleness and gratitude. The residents at Lakstute had for a long time had a big wish to have a mini-golf area and being able to give it to them was a great satisfaction for the management team.

Robertas Kogelis, Director of Terminal Operations & Onboard Sales, says: “Putting myself into someone else’s shoes was a valuable experience – to see how some people choose careers with complete focus on helping those who need it most. I have to say, I absolutely loved the team day.”

Lars Hoffmann, Vice President & Head of Business Unit Mediterranean, says: “It was a very memorable experience, and during activities like this, you always get to see the ‘true face’ of your colleagues, for example those willing to walk the extra mile and those who prefer freewheeling. Nevertheless, digging or painting – we laughed a lot in our team.”

 

Anders Refsgaard (standing) & Jonas Nazarovas

 

Aleksej Slipenciuk

 

Robertas kogelis