Sunny outlook in the Mediterranean

Positive signs after a tough year for DFDS in Turkey.

DFDS’ business in the Mediterranean grew two per cent on the same period last year.

This small growth is a positive sign given the global impact of Covid-19 in 2020. DFDS expects to continue this in 2021.

Turkey felt the pandemic effects like every other country. Lockdowns and factory closures hit trade hard.

The country’s exports to many European countries were down 27% in May 2020. Turkey started to adapt, and the wheels of the economy started to turn again. Trade reports indicated improved results the following month.

The Turkish Lira started to regain its value. Its import-export balance began returning to normal.

DFDS in the Mediterranean started to perform better as a result. Rail lines proved their importance during the pandemic when land borders were running with restrictions. DFDS was able to operate with minimum human interaction.

Looking ahead, a reduced carbon footprint for DFDS in the Mediterranean is a reality. All ferries there have had scrubbers installed, which remove pollutants from exhaust gases.

Also ongoing are efforts to ease congestion in Trieste, Italy – one of DFDS’ key destinations from Turkey.

Aid convoy to earthquake struck Croatia

Zagreb in Croatia was recently struck by an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude. To provide aid, AFAD, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, prepared 100 living house containers for victims affected by the earthquake. 

The homes were transported on 3 and 5 January to reach Zagreb in cooperation with UND (International Transporters Association) and DFDS while Tan Group Logistics undertook the customs clearance of the convoy consisting of 50 trucks from 30 UND member companies. 

Fuat Pamukçu, VP, Sales, Marketing, Business Development & Strategy, says“After the earthquake in Croatia, our state did not remain indifferent to the disaster. With our UND member logisticians’ trucks and our national fleet, we loaded 30 containers on Pergamon Seaways followed by the remaining 70 containers on Ephesus Seaways that both arrived with the containers in Trieste last week. 

We are happy to be a part of this valuable support for which the Turkish logistics industry is one heart for Croatia. We hope that, if only a little bit, the wounds would be healed. We believe that living homes will achieve this purpose.” 

You can watch the journey in the video below:

“We carry for women” going strong

We Carry for Women, the CSR project by BU MED and the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER), continues providing benefits to Turkish women entrepreneurs.

The project has been making a real contribution to the business world by transporting women entrepreneurs’ products to European countries for free. As an ongoing project, it is already making a notable change in the industry. Applications were received during the summer of 2020 and BU MED recently started transporting women entrepreneurs’ goods all over Europe. So far, BU Med and logistics partners carried 6 units from 5 different companies of women entrepreneurs. More is being planned for the rest of the year. 

The logistic partners, which are also BU Med’s key accounts, are a key part during this project. We Carry for Women is currently supported by 21 logistic partners, 2 of which are new accounts and joined the project after having heard in the pressAll these logistic partners collaborated willingly with the women entrepreneurs and showed them their wholehearted support. In addition, the project received more media visibility via the logistic partners’ communication activities. 

Besides the traditional press activities, the project’s communication is supported with a TV show and on social media. Nearly 6 million people were reached with the traditional and digital communication activities since July. 

“We Carry for Women”, which is a union of forces in the logistics sector during the pandemic, allowed DFDS BU MED to stand out as an opinion leader in the logistics sector and its stakeholders. 

Meet Danny Annan

As a Danish owned company in Turkey, the diplomatic links between the countries are of importance to DFDS. In this video, you will meet Danny Annan, the newly appointed Danish ambassador in Turkey.

Özlem Dalga, Corporate Communications & PR Manager in BU Med, interviews Danny Annan about how it has been for him to arrive in a foreign country during the Covid-19 pandemic, and he also explains about the activities still going on despite the pandemic.

Danny Annan describes how he sees the ambassador’s role in Turkey, and how he wishes to strenghten the commercial and political bonds between Turkey and Denmark. Finally, he gives his point of view on the BU Med CSR initiative “We Carry for Women”.

Interview with Lars Hoffmann

Listen to this interview with Lars Hoffmann, Vice President & Head of Business Unit Mediterranean, and hear him explain the background for the increased focus on DFDS’ intermodal services (combined rail-freight services).

New rail system in BU Med

You might have noticed that use of rail services as part of freight transport chain  intermodal transportation  is developing throughout DFDS. The Intermodal Department and Trieste terminal are well versed in this practice and are currently running about 56 round trips per week to many European destinations. 

To improve the shift from road to rail and ferry, BU Med has successfully implemented a new system called r2L-traileruse. It is devised by transport and logistics company and important customer for BU Med, VegaBefore going into what the new system can do, here is some context. 

Normally, only semitrailers that can be lifted by crane can be loaded onto trainswith a few exceptions. To overcome this, we use systems that use special equipment at the terminal and on the wagons. They ensure the loading of units which, due to their technical characteristics, cannot be loaded in the traditional way. 

Unfortunately, some units were still not compatible with our previous system, Nikrasa. This meant that some of our customers had to find other solutions to reach their desired destination. 

At the Logistics & Transportation Trade Show in Munich, Transport Logistics 2019, I was one of the first to be informed by VEGA about a new system that was being developed for units that could not be lifted by crane. 

New system, new benefits
It’s now a great pleasure to announce that, on 13 October 2020, the first Vega r2L-traileruse adapter was used on the Trieste – Bettembourg train. This allowed DFDS to load a FullSped frigo trailer that previously was unable to be loaded onto the train with the Nikrasa system. 

But these are not the only advantages of the new r2L-trailerus system from VEGAOther advantages: 

  • It is usable on DFDS current wagon sets. 
  • No extra equipment necessary in terminals. 
  • A wider range of units can be loaded onto the train other than by crane, for example glass trailers osilo trailers (pictured below). 
  • From mid-November 2020 it will also be possible to carry short silo trailers. 

The change of equipment is already complete, and we are offering six slots for trailers that cannot be lifted by crane for every Trieste – Bettembourg – Trieste train. 

Our intention is to offer this service on the Trieste – Cologne line in 2021. 

We are looking forward to welcoming back old customers who we were not able to satisfy and obviously new ones! 

Fuat Pamukcu, Vice President, BU Med Sales, says: “I look forward to developing more innovative intermodal solutions together with our new intermodal competence centre. 


DFDS at Barcolana Regatta

Even though large ferries are more our style, our colleagues at BU Med could not miss out on the opportunity to increase awareness about DFDS and our activities at the festive Barcolana Regatta. 

The Barcolana Regatta is an international sailing regatta and draws the largest number of racing sailboats in the world. Traditionally there are more than 300,000 visitors attending the event to look at some 2,000 sailing boats in the Gulf of Trieste. The event is over a week of celebrations on land and at sea and turns Trieste into the European capital of sailing.  

Jens Peder Nielsen, Managing Director in Trieste, was there to welcome some of the visitors. He says: “DFDS had set up on the main square of Trieste with its own 45’ container, distributing information material and family-friendly gifts. This was a good way to create visibility at local level and tell who we are, what we do and what binds us to Trieste and its port. Lars Hoffman, who was on a visit, also had a good chance to experience the impressive event and see our setup. Well done to all involved. 

“Unfortunately, due to very bad weather and a strong bora wind, the sailing race on Sunday 11 October was cancelled, to the disappointment of everybody involved. However, safety comes first and under the extreme weather conditions the safety of the participants could not be guaranteed and cancellation was definitely the right decision.” 

Mitja Gialuz, Chairman of the sailing club organising Barcolana, Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano, says: “We were glad to welcome DFDS to Barcolana. In such an intense and complex year, it is worth highlighting the foresight of anyone supporting local communities and events fostering their economy. This partnership proves once again that the sea is a strong bond from which new synergies and projects can originate, for the benefit of all. 

DFDS at Digital Transformation Summit

Our colleagues at the IT Development Center in Turkey help us with digital solutions and have already delivered multiple apps for both our passenger and freight business.

Therefore, Jan Berslen Devrim, Senior Director of the centre, was invited to a Digital Transformation Summit hosted by Bloomberg HT in Turkey.
At the summit, he shared his knowledge and view about the centre’s work, artificial intelligence, digitalization, and new technologies in the logistics industry.
Jan, says: “I believe that the logistics industry can generate more data than any other sector, and we must use all that data to make better decisions and to predict future information systems in logistics.”

New mobile apps
“At the Development Centre, we aim to focus on AI and machine learning to develop more efficient solutions. Currently, we are working on mobile apps for booking and solutions to support the management of storage and movement of units at the terminals,” he says.

National broadcast
The summit was broadcasted on national TV and more than 2.5 million people reached the webinar via the Bloomberg HT website and 267K people watched it live on Bloomberg HT social media accounts.
“It was a pleasure to bring attention to our work at the summit. The team is working hard to achieve better solutions for our customers and stakeholders. This webinar and other speakers prove that no one can survive without cutting-edge long-term solutions” says Jan.

New Patras-Trieste service

Gallipoli Seaways will operate between Patras and Trieste. Here she is seen in Patras.

To accommodate a welcoming increase in market demand, BU Med has started a new shipping line between Trieste and Patras. Previously, Patras only served as an intermediate stop between Pendik and Trieste but will now provide regular and reliable shipping between Italy and Greece with a dedicated service offering two weekly round-trips.

Lars Hoffmann, Vice President and Head of BU Meç, says: “We are very delighted to add this new line to the wide range of high quality services in the Mediterranean.”

COVID-19 update from BU Med

Lars Hoffmann

The last six months have been very challenging for BU Mediterranean. However, at challenging times like these, we must prove ourselves and show what we are made of.

Personally, I am very happy to see that we have learned new ways of doing our jobs during the COVID-19 situation that suddenly changed our way of living and working.

More than anything, I am glad that we so far have had very few coronavirus cases in BU Med. All our colleagues and families are safe and sound, and we must focus on ensuring that it remains that way.

The volumes in the Mediterranean took a hard hit. For example, during March and April approximately 50% of our volume disappeared, as a major part of our cargo is linked to the automotive and textile industries. They have been really impacted by the virus. On top of this, we were not allowed to fly our drivers. Within a few days this resulted in a huge overcapacity on our vessels and trains, but we acted wisely and did not panic.

Adapting to the new normal
Through collaboration, we learned to navigate the new normal. Virtual meetings coordinating capacity on vessels, terminals and trains quickly became part of the daily routine. Colleagues from sales assisted the operations team and we also found opportunities to develop our intermodal solutions. It was also great to be of assistance to port authorities and other DFDS colleagues, to whom we supplied medical equipment in France and Italy.

I am glad to see the accumulated strength of BU Med, and am proud to be its head with such good colleagues.

Volumes are picking up
During June and July, we saw volumes pick up slowly. Just before the Bayram holidays, we were very close to our 2019 numbers. Still very far from our forecast for 2020, but cargo returned slightly faster than expected, and I firmly believe that we will come out of this even stronger.

There is still great potential in BU Med. Crises are not an unknown thing in Turkey and we have certainly proven that we are able to take a ‘storm’ and adapt our business to a new standard. During the pandemic, the Turkish economy continues to be in very bad shape, something which could have a significant impact on our customers and competition. We will follow this closely.

COVID-19 is far from over. We still need to do even more and be better in our daily work. However, I am sure we will achieve our goals by keeping our focus and optimising our business.

Thanks to all my colleagues in BU Med for your efforts.

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.”

Covid-19: 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.