BU Med “Carry for Women”

Fuat Pamukçu, Melek Yıldız, Özlem Dalga, Emine Erdem and Lars Hoffmann

BU MED recently initiated the corporate social responsibility project “We Carry for Women” in cooperation with KAGİDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey).

The project involves transportation of 50 female entrepreneurs’ goods (2 containers for each elected enrepreneur) by DFDS free of charge for a year. Turkish international freight transport and logistics companies have shown a great interest to support women entrepreneurs in Turkey by participating in this project together with DFDS.

“We Carry for Women” is designed to encourage women’s participation in business life, help them stand out in social life, and contribute to their export capabilities. Products of female producers will be shipped free of charge by DFDS in its maritime (departures from Pendik, Yalova and Mersin) and railway networks. This support has grown vastly, particularly during and after the pandemic, and the first transport took place in the last week of June.

The project was introduced to the Turkish press on 3 July through an online press conference with participation of Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU MED, Emine Erdem, President of KAGİDER, and Fuat Pamukçu, VP Sales, Marketing, Business Development & Strategy.

As part of the multi-stranded communication plan designed for the project, “Route of Women Entrepreneurs” TV show started to broadcast on 25 July on Bloomberg HT channel. Emine Erdem and Fuat Pamukçu were the first guests of the TV show, and they pointed out the importance of the project which contributes greatly to making female entrepreneurs more competitive in global markets and helps them get access to the markets overseas. Every Saturday, with the moderation of Özlem Dalga, Corporate Communications Manager in BU MED, “Route of Women Entrepreneurs” will continue to tell stories about female entrepreneurs and provide logistics mentoring and coaching with our business partners as guest hosts.

This TV advertorial for the project was shown on national TV

This is the first episode of the TV show (selected clips have English subtitles)

Fuat Pamukçu says: “The female entrepreneurs to benefit from the “We Carry for Women” program will be chosen by KAGİDER and DFDS. Women’s involvement in the economic life is very important for gender equality as well as for the democratic development. We are very happy to realise this project with KAGİDER, a non-governmental organisation working to empower women by entrepreneurship.”

Özlem Dalga says: “We are positively surprised that the “We Carry For Women” project has been so well received and are very happy that this collaboration project in the logistics sector will help women entrepreuners in this pandemic periode.”

Boosting sales in BU MED

The new Galaxy project aims to boost BU MED’s volumes following the impact of the pandemic. The main goal is to gain about 7000 new units on our Mediterranean lines from new and actual DFDS customers who have been sending units to Europe using different modes of transportation. We want to get fast results to compensate for the decreasing volumes caused by COVID-19.

Here’s what we want to achieve:

  • We want to provide more competitive prices on our ro-ro and intermodal lines for existing customers who carry units to European cities we see as new priority markets.
  • We want to use promotional campaigns to get existing customer to ship extra units.
  • We want to guarantee bookings on our vessels for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • We want to arrange bookings for intermodal and ro-ro customers who have struggled with permit documents while passing through Austria.
  • We want to highlight the benefits of using DFDS lines to customers who prefer road transport: less paperwork for transit permits, lower costs and fewer issues related to crossing borders.
  • In general, we want to help customers and drivers to avoid spending too much time on handling border precautions caused by COVID-19.

“The logistics sector has been negatively affected by COVID-19. With the Galaxy Project, we aim to benefit from the advanced logistics services we offer to companies in different segments by being solution-oriented and striving for customer satisfaction. We are trying to achieve a better position in the market by increasing business volumes without having to wait for the global economy to return to normal,” says BU MED Sales & Business Development Director Önder Başboğa.

BU Med: One year with Sète

The Sète team celebrating one year with the route.

Precisely one year ago, BU Med moved all sailings between Turkey and France to Sète due to more intermodal opportunities and being strategically right for our customers as it is close to most of our markets such as Spain and Portugal.

With large vessels that can carry up to 300 trucks each trip, the route to and from Sète has made 24,147 transportations on Pendik/Yalova-Sète and 29,031 on Sète-Pendik/Yalova.

With the inclusion of our colleagues from the closed office in Toulon, the Sète team has become a strong unit that works to develop local business and operations. They are currently planning to make train connections in the Port of Sète and set up buildings for recreational activities for drivers in the port.

Ayberk Eskin, France Route Director, says: “I think the improvement we have shown in one year is really admirable. We started this route in the middle of a crisis and had serious problems at the beginning, but we have now reached an excellent service level. I sincerely thank all my friends in France, Turkey, ports, agencies and vessels who contributed for this to happen.”

Jimmy Marolle, Agency Director France, says: “It is now one year ago from when I stood under heavy rain and saw the first call of UND Ege (now Gallipoli Seaways) and I am proud of what we have achieved from that time until now with excellent teamwork at all levels to make this route a success”.

DFDS to establish Competence Center with primeRail

In joint venture with intermodal operator primeRail, DFDS Med will build an intermodal competence Centre in Cologne. Here are Peder Gellert and Lars Hoffmann at the day of the signing in Hamburg with Patrick Zilles (sitting), CEO of primeRail, and Kurt Pelster, Board Member in primeRail.

Today, a significant part of DFDS’ cargo transports between Turkey and Europe is managed from DFDS’ Mediterranean head office in Istanbul through intermodal solutions via Trieste.

In order to grow our intermodal solutions, we will, in addition to our existing set-up, establish a new Intermodal Competence Centre in the Cologne area where focus will be on developing competitive solutions.

DFDS will do this in a joint venture with rail operator primeRail that provides solutions to maximize mobility through innovative and cost-effective intermodal solutions.

Lars Hoffmann, Vice President and Head of DFDS’ Mediterranean unit, says” With our shared knowledge and expertise, we are confident that we will create a strong platform for developing even more efficient intermodal solutions. This will not only benefit our customers, but it will certainly also support the work to reduce our impact on the environment. ”

primeRail started successfully as an intermodal operator in 2019 and has already developed efficient digital solutions and will now immediately starts building the new DFDS Competence Center.

Peder Gellert and Patrick Zilles

Rebranding of BU MED vessels nears completion

You might remember Hasan Goler, Operations Superintendent, striking gold as he came up with the idea for renaming the BU Med fleet. It was to be after the Turkish UNESCO world heritage sites as part of a comprehensive rebranding.

Gemak Group at the Gemak Shipyard has been carrying out the rebranding that will finish at the end of June. BU Med will then be able to proudly present a fully rebranded fleet in DFDS livery and with new, unique names.

Cemil Bayulgen will be the last of the 12 ferries to be rebranded. She will be named Galata Seaways (formerly Cemil Bayulgen). Other names combined with ‘Seaways’ include: Cappadocia (UND Atilim), Olympos (UND Birlik), Assos (Saffet Ulusoy), Artemis (UN Marmara), Aspendos (UN Pendik), Dardanelles (UN Trieste), Zeugma (UN Akdeniz), Sumela (UN Karadeniz), Myra (Cunet Solakoglu), Gallipolli (UND Ege) and Pergamon (UN Istanbul).

Lars Hoffmann, Vice President and Head of BU Mediterranean, says: “This shows how far we have come in making UN RoRo an integral and essential part of DFDS. I am very happy to present a fleet that customers and the public can associate with DFDS and with names that mean something to the local communities in the Mediterranean, as well as being well-known internationally.”

Kemal Bozkurt, VP of Operations in BU Med, says: “The rebranding of the UN RoRo fleet was one of the main pillars in the integration plan. The plan has a comprehensive scope involving major areas that need to be integrated and aligned such as in Finance, Procurement, Sales, Operations, Technical Organisation, HR, Digital, Marketing and IT.

“Even though it has been a challenge, everyone involved has embraced the purpose to learn from the DFDS way of doing business while respecting and adapting to the local culture. This has truly resulted in the creation of a unique DFDS company culture.

“Now we are almost at the final step of a process that will end the UN RoRo era with the last vessel in the Turkish fleet to be rebranded.”


Most of the rebranded vessels from the BU Med fleet. Artemis, Pergamon, Olympos and Galata are missing.

BU MED connects women entrepreneurs

BU MED’s DFDS Academy brought Turkish KAGİDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey) and Italian AIDDA (Italian Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Managers) together with the participation of Marie Christine Oghly, World President of World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM), on Wednesday, June 10th.

The meeting started with the opening speeches of Marie Christine Oghly and National Presidents of AIDDA and KAGİDER, Maria Claudia Torlasco Mastelli and Emine Erdem respectively. During the webinar, members of AIDDA and KAGİDER discussed the ways in which Turkish and Italian entrepreneurs are planning to relaunch the economy after the pandemic.

Members from two businesswomen associations, mostly active in tourism and health sectors, shared their experiences and best cases during the Covid-19 period, together with their newly initiated projects to inspire further cooperation between Italy and Turkey.

National presidents of AIDDA and KAGIDER also “virtually” signed the Memorandum of Understanding to officialize cooperation and the beginning of a more intense dialogue. This will be the first step in a series of other collaborations with similar associations in Europe and in the world.

Özlem Dalga, BU MED Corporate Communications Manager, says: “Originally, this meeting was supposed to be in Trieste, however I am very glad that we were still able to bring these passionate women entrepreneurs from Turkey and Italy together anyhow. We truly believe that the “maritime bridge” which connects Turkey to the city of Trieste will get stronger with this cooperation. We also believe wholeheartedly that this meeting and DFDS Academy will support and empower women in business especially in tourism during the new normal.”

You can see the full webinar here.

The special moment where National presidents of KAGIDER and AIDDA, Emine Erdem (top) and Maria Claudia Torlasco Mastelli (at the bottom) respectively, “virtually” signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

DFDS Academy launches webinars

Top, from let to right: Özlem Dalga, Corporate Communications Manager in BU MED and Arzu Ekiz Akyol, Ekol Logistics Turkey Country Manager.
Bottom, from left to right: Zeybek Atabek, Tur Transit Executive President Şebnem and Berna Akyıldız, Association of International Forwarding and Logistics Service Providers Board Member.

BU Med’s DFDS Academy, where customers familiarize with DFDS’ brand, network, and way of doing business, came back after a long break. This time to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19 outbreak with leaders of logistics sector and monitor the Covid-19 period most effectively.

DFDS Academy has successfully completed two webinars regarding “The Definition of New Normal in Logistics” and “The Continuity of Trade During Covid-19 Period” with the participation of board members of key accounts such as Ekol Logistics, Mars Logistics and associations like UTIKAD, Association of International Forwarding and Logistics Service Providers. Alongside sales and operations employees from different companies, DFDS Academy extended the target group with the webinars and reached 890K people (approx.) through press and social media channels.

DFDS Academy is re-designed as an online platform where people working in logistics share knowledge. For the upcoming weeks, more webinars and several online initiatives are planned by the BU MED Corporate Communications team.

Özlem Dalga, Corporate Communications Manager in BU MED, says: “Now that international offline events are out of the question for a while, we found the best solution was to carry our marketing and communication events online in order to help people to network and have discussions on topics of the industry through arranging webinars and online events. And we realised that there is a need for our community to keep engaging. With the use of the webinar schedule and online events, we are underlining our company’s position as the sector leader during the post COVID-19 stage in order to accelerate the recovery process.”

Turkish drivers repatriated

Several Turkish drivers have been stuck in France and Italy due to the travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Now the issue with Turkish drivers stuck in France and Italy has finally been resolved. On 3 April, 110 drivers and 33 Turkish citizens successfully flew back to Turkey with the perpetual diplomatic efforts of The General Consulate of Turkey in Marseille and The General Consulate of France in Istanbul. Several DFDS BU MED colleagues also contributed heavily with their efforts and expertise.

Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU MED, says: “I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all my BU Med colleagues who provided full support during this difficult period. Special thanks go to Fuat Pamukçu, VP Sales, Marketing, Business Development & Strategy and his teammate Arif Akkoz, Agency Manager, and also to the employees of the Republic of Turkey Marseille Consulate and the French Consulate of Istanbul for their valuable contributions to getting Turkish drivers repatriated.”

Phoenix implemented in BU Med

The implementation of Phoenix and MyFreight are now completed in all former U.N. Ro-Ro locations

As we shared in February, the Ferry IT team supported by workstreams from Digital, BI and the local business have been busy with one of its largest projects ever – to implement DFDS systems in BU Med. Locations were added to the systems network on a bi-weekly basis in the first quarter of 2020. We are now happy to announce that the first implementation phase is completed slightly ahead of schedule.

The project workstreams, the implementation team and the local business have all done a fantastic job to deliver the project on time. This means that all former U.N. Ro-Ro locations now have Phoenix (our core IT system for the freight business) and MyFreight (online booking portal for freight customers) systems as well as subsequent capabilities such as BI reporting.  

Please see below overview of the project status:

Lars Hoffman, VP and Head of BU Mediterranean says: “It is vital to align with the rest of DFDS, so we are glad to finally have Phoenix on most of our locations. It provides better business overview and enables us to use Tableau.

“Thanks to especially Sara Ryden and her Phoenix team, who spent many weeks in Turkey working on the implementation. We now have to implement Phoenix in Trieste and Tunis as soon as we can travel again completing the first stage and significantly improve our communication and data quality as well as standardise the processes on the routes just like it did at the previously implemented routes.”

In addition, it is planned to expand the initial implementation of the intermodal routes by integrating with train providers as well as offering booking and Track & Trace capabilities to our customers.

Rune Keldsen, EVP and CTO, says: “This big project is a milestone related to collaboration across the DFDS group. Business located in various countries have worked closely together with our IT teams placed in Istanbul, Grimsby, Gothenburg, Vlaardingen and Copenhagen. The success of this implementation shows how beneficial it is when we unite the different skills and cultures that we have in the group no matter the location.”

Michael Herbæk, Freight Ferry DIO, says, “This is the biggest Phoenix implementation ever, and even though our colleagues in BU Med were really willing to adapt to the DFDS Ferry processes supported by our systems, a lot of development for supporting legal and local ‘must have’ tasks was needed. For example, 42 new EDI (electronic data interchange) links was built to communicate with banks, authorities and other stakeholders. On top of that, a separate module for handling customs clearance between Turkey and Europe was developed making it possible to adapt to customs demands from other countries. Where relevant, MyFreight and the underlying API’s were also further developed for supporting BU Med.

“Last but not least, a lot of hours were spent at the different locations to support the go live, and here a special thanks to those of the business areas outside BU Med that allocated some of their local core staff members to help out during the many go live periods. A big thanks to all involved, you can all be proud of having participated in this successfully implementation of Phoenix”.

The implementation project is now officially closed, and future development requests will be handled together with requests coming from other parts of the business.

BU Med celebrates International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the world last Sunday on 8 March. The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also marked a call to action for accelerating women’s equality and to support and empower women, not only on this day, but on all other days as well.

For this important occasion, our colleagues from BU Med took time to reflect on how it is to work at DFDS and in the maritime industry in general as a woman. See the great video above where some of our colleagues share their point of view and wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day.

BU Med signs new collective agreement

From left: Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director; Kemal Bozkurt, VP Operations, and representatives of the Turkish Seafarers’ Union celebrate a successful collective bargaining process

After a series of meetings with the Turkish Seafarers’ Union, a new, collective agreement has been signed for the benefit of our colleagues on board BU Med vessels and at the terminals. The agreement has already come into force and is valid until the end of 2021.

Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director, says: “The new collective agreement provides improved working conditions and a number of benefits.

“We took into account the Bearing Survey results while preparing the agreement, as equal opportunities and working conditions are the most significant areas requiring further improvement. With the agreement, I believe that we are going to improve our colleagues’ motivation and job satisfaction.”

Kemal Bozkurt, VP Operations, says: “We experienced a very positive, collaborative negotiation process with the union. The outcome is much more satisfactory for both parties, and we have managed to conclude some of the long-standing issues.

“The terms improved to 2 months on and 1 month off for the officers and 3 months on and 1 month off for the ratings. Additional social benefits and working conditions are now aligned with the rest of DFDS. The wage levels for land-based employees have been standardized.

“I believe these improvements will contribute to increasing yet further the loyalty and dedication of our colleagues. I would like to thank all who participated in the process.”

New Director in BU Med

Önder Ulaş Başboğa, former Sales Marketing Manager at Ulusoy Sealines, started his new role as Sales & Business Development Director in BU MED on 18 February. He will be reporting to Fuat Pamukçu, VP Sales, Marketing, Business Development & Strategy.

Önder will be working on developing sales and marketing strategies and creating new business opportunities for BU Med. In his new role, he will also focus on existing and future trends of operational methods which are applicable and supports BU Med.

Önder says, “First of all I am glad to be a member of the DFDS family. Wıth my experience in the RoRo business, I look forward to work on customer satisfaction, all sales activities and market strategies of the BU. Along with my colleagues, I am certain that we will move the DFDS brand and services into an even better prestigious position.

Fuat says: “The first block of DFDS Way is to be customer driven, and I believe Önder’s appointment as the Sales Director for BU MED is an important step in promoting DFDS’ Ferry services and brand in the Turkish market, not only to the large logistics customers but to a larger variety of Turkish logistics and transport companies. I warmly welcome Önder to the DFDS family and wish him success in his new role.”

Coronavirus: How DFDS addresses it on board

We are monitoring the situation closely and follow the recommendations of the various health authorities to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent spreading of viruses on board our ferries. Currently, we encourage everyone on board to:

1: Wash your hands regularly and disinfect them with sanitizers that are placed on board.

2: Cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Please discard the tissue into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

3: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

4: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people if you feel sick, are coughing, sneezing or have a fever. In general avoid physical contact.

5: We also require DFDS’ passenger ferries to keep a supply of approximately 50 face masks on board

6: If a person reports to the DFDS staff with symptoms of Coronavirus (respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) AND this person has been in an area with presumed community transmission of COVID-19 within the last 14 days, OR has been in contact with a person who has been in an area with presumed community transmission of COVID-19 within the last 14 days, OR has been in contact with a person with confirmed Coronavirus, the following procedures should be followed:

  1. The person must be isolated in a cabin or in a car until arrival.
  2. The person must wear a face mask, all staff attending to the person must also wear face masks.
  3. Designated person and crewing department must be alerted.
  4. Health authorities ashore must be alerted.

Presumed community transmission of COVID-19 currently includes countries such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. The UK health authorities also include the other South East Asia countries in the list.

Please see the updated links and recommendations of the health authorities via the links below.

The further contingency measures on board will be made in close cooperation with the health authorities.

Additional guidance

For additional guidance, please see WHO’s Q&A on Coronavirus  (or check for similar in your respective home countries):












The Netherlands:

The UK:

You are also welcome to ask questions in the comment field below this article or visit you country’s website.

A trip around locations in BU Med

Jimmy Marolle (left) and Lars Hoffmann (right) with the Socotu Shipping team

The first week of February was a busy one for Lars Hoffmann, Vice President and Head of BU Mediterranean and Jimmy Marolle, Route & Agency Director. Together they went on a trip to Tunesia and France meeting colleagues, local partners, and agencies as well as seeing the facilities. They ended the trip in Sète for a town hall meeting.

The purpose of the trip was to give Lars Hoffmann an overview and a first-hand impression of the facilities at the Port of Rades and La Goulette, the two ports that we are calling in Tunisia and of course getting a chance to talk to colleagues about the operation and local business.

Newly promoted Jimmy Marolle, Route & Agency Director, says “In Tunesia, we met our local partners, third party agent and transport and logistics company, Socotu, who has represented DFDS for over 20 years and Tunisian ferry company Cotunav with whom we have a technical partnership with and the port authorities as well. We introduced them to our new structure and organization in BU Med and discussed cooperation reinforcement as well as Turkey-Tunisia business opportunities and possibilities.”

“We concluded our trip in France with a town hall meeting at the newly established office in Sète where it was a pleasure meeting our enthusiastic team handling the Istanbul – Sète route. The meeting focused, among other things, on recent development in the Business Unit, and how we can contribute to a successful delivery of our Win23 ambitions” says Lars Hoffmann, Vice President and Head of BU Mediterranean.

Photo taken at the 
office in Sète: From left to right: Alexandre Sabatte, Lars Hoffmann, Atakan Alkan, Marjorie Magnier, Jimmy Marolle, Julien Mestre, Saïd Sid, Cécilia Escolano, Arthur Claude.


Lars Hoffmann accompanied by Zohra Souab from Socotu in the middle of a tour at the Port of Rades.

BU Med is targeting improved Health and Safety

Özge Süalp Altun is new Head of Health and Safety in BU Med.


BU Med is targeting improved HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) standards in operations as an important goal for 2020. As a new resource for this purpose, C. Özge Süalp Altun started her role as Head of HSE in BU Med on 3 February, reporting to Kemal Bozkurt, VP Operations for BU Med.

Özge will be working to improve standards on Health and Safety Management on terminals and vessels, aiming to establish a common monitoring, reporting and management approach within the unit. She is a “Class A Occupational Health & Safety Specialist” with experience in international working environments.

Kemal Bozkurt, VP Operations, says: “Following the unfortunate incident we had in Trieste back in October, 2019, we have launched an Health and Safety project to review and improve the HSE standards within our area of responsibility.”

“Detailed analysis and field inspections were conducted within the scope of the project. The action plan is being executed with most of it are already in place, and we are now restructuring the Health & Safety organisation to further strengthen our operational control in the field. I’m excited to see the contribution of Özge and wish her the best for her new endavour.”

Özge says, “I am very excited to be a member of such a big international family and I have felt the warm welcome from the very start. I’m also fully aware of the challenges ahead of me and I believe that I will contribute to the new Occupational Health and Safety structure with my experience and knowledge.”

Promotions in BU Med

Malte Lühnen and Jimmy Marolle

New Operations Manager for France route
Malte Lühnen, currently working in BU Baltic as Bookings Manager, will move from Klaipėda to İstanbul for a new position as Operations Manager. He will take up his new role on 2 March and will report to Ayberk Eskin, Route Director France.

Malte will be working on operations management for France and Phoenix integration.

Ayberk Eskin, Route Director France, says: “I’m excited that Malte will join my team. With his experience and know-how, he will provide a great contribution, especially in the solution to the operational problems we have experienced in Sète and in the transition to Phoenix and MyFreight.”

Aleksej Slipenciuk, Route Director & Agency Director, says: “I know Malte from my time in Klaipėda, where he lifted routing booking to the art of yield management. We will miss him, however I’m sure that he will contribute much more in BU Med and that step is best both for DFDS and Malte’s personal development. I wish him good luck with his new tasks.”

Lars Hoffmann, VP and Head of BU Med, says: “I look forward to having Malte in BU Med, as I know his capabilities from my previous work in BU Baltic. Malte and Caris Petersen will run our France and Italy routes in close cooperation, as they previous did on the Kiel – Klaipėda route. I am sure they will be a great benefit, as we will start integrating Phoenix and the DFDS Way of working. A special thanks to my colleagues in BU Baltic, especially Anders Refsgaard, Vice President and Head of BU Baltic, for accepting two colleagues to Istanbul from BU Baltic.”

Jimmy Marolle, new Agency Director of France
Furthermore, Jimmy Marolle is promoted to Agency Director, France, within BU Med and covering both our locations in Marseille and Sète.

He will also continue to act as Route Director for Marseille – Tunisia and report to Lars Hoffmann, VP and Head of BU Med.

Jimmy has been working at DFDS since 2012. He is an ex-employee of LD Lines (ferry section of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs) and used to be based in Paris. He moved to Marseille where he established the Marseille office in 2014 and the Sète office in July 2019.

“I am so happy to be part of this exciting new challenge and to contribute to the continuous development of DFDS in southern France,” says Jimmy.

Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU Med, says: “Jimmy has for many years been responsible for Marseille – Tunisia. He transferred to BU Med when we acquired UN RoRo in 2018, and during 2019 we decided to add Sète, which came under the management of Jimmy.

We have now closed down Toulon and terminated our external agency agreement. Jimmy has established a new team in Sète and he is now in charge of all BU Med activities in France. He has been with DFDS for many years, shown his capability to maintain and develop our activities in southern France, especially during our challenging times in Sète. I am glad we have Jimmy and his team in Sète. They make a difference to BU Med, and it is therefore also a pleasure for me that Jimmy gets this promotion.”

DFDS visits Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications

On 30 January, Torben Carlsen, CEO, Peder Gellert Pedersen, EVP & Head of Ferry Division, and Lars Hoffmann, VP and Head of BU Med, met with Mehmet Cahit Turhan, the Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications, to extend and strengthen the cooperation between DFDS and Turkey.

Ali Kurumahmut, former member of the Council of State appointed by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Selim Dursun, Deputy Minister, and Ahmet Selçuk Sert, Deputy Undersecretary & General Manager of Maritime and Inland Waters Regulation, also attended the meeting on behalf of the Ministry. Levent Şinel, Port Operations Manager, and Arif Akkoz, Agency Manager were also at the meeting on behalf of BU Med, alongside Lars Hoffmann.

During the meeting, the history of DFDS and current investments, including IT, made by DFDS in Turkey since 2018 were discussed by Turkish officials and DFDS executives. They also highlighted DFDS’ trust in Turkey and the Turkish logistics sector as one of the most crucial elements, and discussed the upcoming investments plan.

Lars Hoffmann says: “It was great to have Torben and Peder in Ankara to meet the Minister of Transport and the Undersecretary. The Ministry is handling most of the formalities relating to our Turkish-flagged vessels, terminals etc. It is important for BU Med and DFDS to have good relationships with the authorities in Turkey. I am sure this visit will benefit BU Med in the long term, as the Turkish Government values our investments in Turkey, and understands our business. A special thanks to Arif and Levent, who have achieved the extraordinary feat of establishing this meeting with the help of their relationships.”

The Turkish Minister of Transportation Mehmet Cahit Turhan and Torben Carlsen holding the honorable gift from the minister.

From left: Peder Gellert, Torben Carlsen, Mehmet Cahit Turhan, Lars Hoffmann, Selim Dursun, and Levent Sinel

BU Med starts DFDS Academy for customers

Earlier this month, BU Med organised the first “DFDS Academy” inviting more than 70 customers to familiarize with DFDS’ brand, network, and way of doing business.

Our colleagues from BU Med informed the customers about the DFDS network, intermodal operations, freight booking systems and health and safety issues in ports.

Each part had a following Q&A session, where our customers asked questions and expressed some operational issues, which made the event very benefical as our colleagues and customers got the chance to collaborate and make our operations much more efficient and smoother for both sides.

The highlight on the agenda was the customers introduction to MyFreight system, our online booking platform for freight customers, which they had the oppurtunity to see for the first time thanks to a sneak preview video.

Dursun Arslan, Superuser from BU Med, talked about all the details regarding the system. He also mentioned Phoenix to remove all question marks in customers’ minds.

The Academy ended with a great networking session.

Dursun Arslan, Italy & Greece Route Deputy Operations Manager says: “In the Academy, customers from company operations departments were informed about our new booking system My-Freight. Thanks to our managers for providing this initiative and all attendees for joining us on this event. This programme is the first one of the year but of course will not the be last.”

New year’s update on BU Med

Lars Hoffmann gives an update on a busy time in BU Med where the colleagues have experienced many changes and challenges – and are on the right track for the future


I have now been in Istanbul for six months, and it has been an extremely positive experience though we have had and will continue to have challenges in the business.

There is still a way to go, but we are certain that together in BU Med, we will be able to deliver on our Win23 targets.

I have met really friendly colleagues and customers, and in general, Turkey is a great place to stay, and I like living here. The Turkish economy is still challenged, but the heavy drop has stopped, and things are catching up and getting more stable now.

We have started the journey of making The BU Med “really Blue” and working the DFDS way. My colleagues have really embraced the change of name to DFDS and promoted it with an impressive enthusiasm and energy. It has been a pleasure to experience this, and the timing was excellent as we at the same time moved into our new and very nice office in Istanbul.

Together with my colleagues in The Management Team, we developed a plan for the change relatively fast as it was quite obvious to us what we needed to fix.

We are investing a lot in developing and restructuring our organisation so it has the DFDS skeleton.

Our IT and Development Team is expanding and has demonstrated its ability
to deliver efficiently on their targets.

From early January, additional DFDS colleagues will come to work in Istanbul, and we are continuously doing training and had the pleasure hosting our Horizon Talents in November. We have introduced a new organisation based on DFDS’ general Route Director structure. We are setting up a BU Med claims desk and initiated a Health and Safety campaign on our vessels and terminals.

We have been focusing on our operations to achieve a necessary improvement of our reliability in regard to terminals, sailing schedules and transit times in general. We also closed our operations in Toulon and are now focusing only on Sète where we also have our own agency.

Phoenix will be installed early January, following GTMS, which for sure will be to the benefit of us all.

All in all: We are on the right track, but there is still a way to go, including in our cooperation with our customers and adapting behaviours to a new business model.

New Year’s Eve in Turkey is almost the same as Christmas Eve in Europe. We will therefore have our New Year’s Evening Dinner on 23 December, where almost 300 colleagues will celebrate the end of 2019, wishing each other and BU Med a prosperous 2020.

Thank you to all my colleagues in BU Med for embracing all the changes we have made.
I wish you all a Happy New Year.


Lars Hoffmann, VP and Head of BU Med

BU Med’s Starfish programme started

Our newly selected talents for BU Med’s trainee program, Starfish, started their competency training on December 4.

The young starfishes began their first training learning the history of DFDS and the DFDS Way, and then continued with self development, identifying different personalities and behaviours by referring to personality type’ studies.

Three more training sessions are planned with the project depending on our young talents’ main improvement points. These trainings will cover effective communication techniques, management skills and public speaking skills.

BU Med has many ambitions with the Starfish such as improving young talents’ interpersonal skills to create a more collaborative working environment in the future whether when they are on board or in the office. By this program, talents is educated within the DFDS culture and values.

Gizem Şen, PR & Corporate Communications Jr. Specialist, says: “I think the word that should be used to summarize this amazing program is commitment. We, all Starfishes, are improving esprit de corps day by day and this strengthens the bonds among us and DFDS. I look forward to meeting future talents in this program.”

BU Med now in place in southern France

Marseille and Sète teams together with Ayberk Eskin (Route Director France) and his sales team this week at a Christmas dinner

We are currently operating two routes in southern France: Marseilles – Tunis from the office in Marseille and Istanbul – Sète from the office in Sète which we began to set-up as soon as the route started back in July.

“This agency was created from scratch in July 2019 and in a limited time period, they managed two weekly calls from July to October. However due to demand, we quickly added a third call. The route is now operated with four vessels and offers three sailings per week on fixed days. The office in Sète started as three colleagues with the support and assistance of our agency in Istanbul and I would, in this regard, like to thank them for their great help,” says Jimmy Marolle, France Agency Manager. “In Sète, there are now eight people and four of them are from our previous agency in Toulon.

New responsibilities for Saïd Sid
“We are very pleased that Saïd Sid, who was Operations Manager in Marseilles, has decided to move to Sète as Port and Operations Manager. Saïd will remain in charge of both operations in each location and will keep reporting to Jimmy.

This will ensure favourable collaboration between the agencies that will benefit from Saïd’s experience,” says Lars Hoffmann, Vice President & Head of BU Mediterranean.

“Additionally, the Port of Sète is offering intermodal facilities, that neither the port of Toulon nor Marseille are offering, which will certainly lead to new business development for DFDS. The Marseille – Tunis route continues unchanged with three calls per week.

“In France, we have experienced a much closer cooperation with Istanbul, which definitely will benefit our business. We have been assisted with manpower whenever we needed, so we really look forward to developing this route – as we are now are working as one unit.”

Organisation chart of the agencies in Marseille and Sète:

Orientation Day in BU Med

New employees in Turkey get thorough onboarding with monthly port visits to see daily operations.


For new DFDS employees, learning and observing the daily operations is usually exciting, and it provides valuable workplace experience in addition to the regular onboarding process.

In BU Med, the onboarding takes six months. In addition to standard orientation and administrative parts, we have been conducting port visits with our newcomers every month.

On 3 December, a group went to our port in Pendik to meet colleagues working portside. During the day, they discussed port operations, the agency and the daily challenges. They also saw the unloading and loading of Ephesus Seaways, one of the biggest ro-ro ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

Özlem Dalga, new PR & Corporate Communications Manager in BU Med, says: “It was a great experience to see the terminal on a busy day. I think this is very important to get a practical understanding of one of DFDS’ core services. As newcomers from various departments, we definitely realised what is meant by the common quote ‘We move for all to grow’. I would like to thank Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, Evren Serindağ and Hanife Turan from HR for this great orientation.”

TURDEF visits BU Med

From the left: Capt. Uğur Demir, Crewing Superintendent; Erkan Dereli, Chairman of TURDEF; Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU Med; Capt. Bengi Şan, Capt. Cengiz Karabiber and Capt. Koray Karagöz, Executive Board Members of TURDEF

In late November, Erkan Dereli, Chairman of the Turkish Maritime Association (TURDEF), and executive board members visited DFDS’ office in Istanbul to convey their support to BU Med for the increasing number of female officers on board.

Erkan Dereli and the board members were informed about the DFDS diversity policies and initiatives by Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU Mediterranean, and Uğur Demir, Crewing Superintendent.

BU Med is currently focusing on increasing the number of female seafarers on board the vessels.

Crewing Superintendent Uğur Demir says: “Superintendents and HR colleagues from BU Med have joined many career days to answer questions about careers at DFDS and tell stories about female seafarers working at BU Med. Şima Demir is one of them, and she became the first female master at DFDS. This has already inspired and encouraged future seafarers to start their own careers with DFDS.”

These initiatives and other gender policies have made DFDS the leading maritime company in Turkey regarding gender diversity.

Uğur Demir continues: “It’s been a pleasure for us to meet associations and people who are willing to improve equality and support women in the maritime industry. It is great to see that our initiatives make a great impact.”

BU MED visits university to attract talent

Piri Reis University is one of the biggest maritime universities in Turkey and has the vision to provide quality education and training that can compete globally.

BU Med supported this vision by attending the university’s career days where Uğur Demir, Crewing Superintendent & HR BP, Evren Serindağ, Training Development Supervisor & HR BP, and Kıvanç Dikmen, Crewing Supervisor talked about Win23, career opportunities and the intern programme Starfish.

BU Med is making great efforts to attract talented students to the maritime business. In the programme students have the opportunity to complete a six-month internship on board one of our vessels, and after completion, the interns are evaluated by the captain.

The best students are chosen to continue with the Starfish Project. These students are given scholarships by BU Med, and trained in line with their professions and for self-improvement. When the Starfish Project students graduate, we offer them deck or engine officer positions.

Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director, says: “Collaboration is the key. We should collaborate with the universities and support them as much as we can as we are in a unique business that has much potential. Moreover, we have another responsiblity to explain the young talents the vision of DFDS and the value it brings.”