Volume record on Klaipeda routes

On 9 March, a total of 7555 lane meters of cargo went out of Klaipeda to Kiel and Karlshamn altogether. It is an absolute record on Baltic routes despite the pandemic related restrictions.

We have strong demand, which we are able to accommodate thanks to sweeper vessels – Ark Futura and Finlandia Seaways, operating on both routes in addition to four ro-pax vessels Regina Seaways, Victoria Seaways, Athena Seaways and Optima Seaways that serve the routes on regular basis. In order to obtain maximum utilization of the additional capacity, the Route Directors Aleksej Slipenciuk (Klaipeda – Kiel) and Per-Henrik Persson (Klaipeda – Karlshamn) have carefully planned the schedule, where four vessels had to be loaded almost simultaneously – with just one hour difference between departures.

Every peak departure puts pressure on the terminal and operations staff as it does on city infrastructure. With 7.5km of cargo it was no exception. Ambitious joint plans of improving the infrastructure, including installation of additional photo gate, expanding waiting area for the trailers and full reconstruction of the road leading to the terminal, are among those being planned.

I would like to thank everyone involved, both ashore and at sea, for this fantastic result. You should all be proud of your contribution. Let’s continue in this spirit as we anticipate the state-of-art newbuilds scheduled for delivery in the nearest future.

Rosslare – Dunkirk ferry route expands capacity

Photo by Jens Vinderslev.

On the 1st April, DFDS will introduce a fourth freight ferry to the successful direct ferry service between Rosslare Europort in Ireland and the Grand Port of Dunkerque in Northern France. 

The new freight ferry is DFDS’ “Ark Dania” with capacity of 188 truck units (including 12 driver accompanied units and 176 unaccompanied units/trailers). 

The direct service is favoured by haulage companies and industry alike, as it avoids the delays, border checks and complicated paperwork that come with using the UK as a land-bridge. Upon arrival in Dunkirk or Rosslare, the drivers are fully rested and can continue driving immediately to reach many major destinations within the rules for driving limits. 

Just after Brexit, the direct route between Rosslare and Dunkirk was launched on 2nd January with three ferries to offer a cost-efficient alternative for trade between Ireland and continental Europe. The additional capacity also gives customers an opportunity to grow their business post Brexit.  

Aidan Coffey, Route Director, says: Ark Dania is an important addition to the routeIt’s a very versatile ferry capable of carrying diverse types of cargoIwill also free up capacity on our three other ferries for more driver accompanied freight units”. 

We have strong demand from all sectors of industry looking to use the direct route to North Central Europe, as more and more realise the benefits of using the direct route compared to the UK land-bridge. 

DFDS’ direct Ireland – France ferry route

DFDS has a new freight ferry route between Ireland and France. It provides direct and paperless transport between EU countries. It is already popular, enjoying near 100% utilisation from day one.

DFDS started a new freight ferry route Rosslare and Dunkerque on 2 January 2021. It gives lorry drivers direct and paperless transport between EU countries. It has proved popular with near 100% utilisation from the start.  

Three ferries serve the route. Each can carry up to 125 lorries and their drivers in Covid-safe, single cabins. The ferries leave six times a week in the afternoon or evening, with a crossing time of 24 hours.  

Remains in EU’s single market and customs union  

“We are extremely pleased to offer customers the opportunity to transport their goods to or from EU countries. Removing the customs formalities and possible waiting times in the UK saves both time and costs for our customers,” says Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division.

Driver-friendly and close to major destinations  

Drivers arrive in Dunkerque or Rosslare fully rested. They can start driving immediately and reach many destinations within their legal driving limit.

The route reduces the dependency on the UK land bridge. It opens direct opportunities for trade within EU’s single market.

Seafarers need our support

Seafarers everywhere have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many have been left stranded working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their initial contracts, unable to get home. Others can’t get to work. Fatigue after long periods at sea has significant consequences on their physical and mental wellbeing. It also increases the risk of maritime incidents and environmental disasters, and threatens the integrity of maritime supply chains that carry 90% of global trade. 

At DFDS, seafarers make up half of our colleaguesSome of them have been impacted by the pandemic, either by being unable to get home on time to loved ones or being able to return to work on time due to ongoing travel restrictions around the world.  As a company, we do everything we can to give them the support, guidance and assistance they need in these difficult times.  In addition to this we also need to stand together as an industry, to support seafaring colleagues around the world. That’s why we have now joined 300 other companies in shipping, transport and supply chains in signing the Neptune Declaration For Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, says DFDS’ VP and Head of Global Crewing Gemma GriffinTo raise awareness of what’s needed to take care of the wellbeing of our frontline workers in the maritime industry. 

“We need to start recognising seafarers across the world as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines,” Gemma says. We also need to establish and live up to gold standard health protocols based on what we know works. We need to increase the collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes and ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that the current crew change crisis is resolved as soon as possible and to use the learnings as an opportunity to build a more resilient maritime supply chain.” 

Learn more about Neptune Declaration For Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change 

Go to video


Cuxhaven-Immingham upgraded

Selandia Seaways, one of the vessels serving the Cuxhaven-Immingham route 

Extra weekly departure from both ports and sailing times reduced by up to four hours.

An upgraded scheduled for our Cuxhaven-Immingham route starts in February that benefits our customers 

It includes an additional departure from both ports during evening hours and a reduced 19-hour sailing time.  

Cuxhaven Route Director Ortolf Barth said, “With one extra departure and more aligned sailing times in the evening we will provide our customers an attractive and reliable alternative to carry out their transports to and from the UK. 

He added, “So far Covid-19 and the new customs rules has not led to disruptions on our service and the whole team is working hard to keep it that way.”  

Marcus Braue, the Branch Manager in Cuxhaven, said, “There is a general trend visible in the market from accompanied to unaccompanied shipments and that’s why were changing the sailing times. It enables trailer customers to load during the day and to deliver the units to the port in the evening. 

The extra sailing is on Wednesdays and brings the number of weekly departures up to six into both directions.  

The new schedule starts on 1 February. Selandia Seaways and Britannia Seaways serve the route. 

Côte D’Opale well underway

This year we will welcome the Côte D’Opale into the Channel family and with just a few months to go until her maiden voyage, she is coming along nicely.

Construction started in May 2019 at the Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, and there is just 15% of the build left until she is ready! Around 300 people are working on the ship to prepare her for the sea trials in May, after which the Côte D’Opale will be ready to welcome you onboard. With her 214 metres length and the capacity for 1000 passengers, she will be the longest ferry on the Channel and will welcome both freight and leisure passengers.  

The Côte D’Opale will have the largest retail space of all our channel ships stretching 1,100 square metres in an open plan conceptA large atrium with a bright skylight will be the centrepiece of the retail experience onboard. There will then be separate ‘wings’ for each product category including perfume & cosmetics, beer, wine & spirits and gifts & technology. Duty Free will add more excitement to the shopping experience, with huge savings on premium products available onboard. 

Steve Newbery, Onboard Commercial Director, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the Côte D’Opale to our channel routes this summer and can’t wait to welcome customers onboard when it’s safe to do so. With shopping and dining experiences to rival large shopping centres or airports, the ship will offer more space, more choice, and a unique travel experience for our valued customers. 

Take a look at how our ship is shaping up and how our retail area onboard will look! Also see how she compares to Calais Seaways in this article.

The onboard shop will have a light, airy central atrium with a glass roof, which will flood the area with light. 

One section of the shop will be dedicated to beers, wines & spirits, with great savings on premium brands.  


A recent photo from the building yard shows the shop skylight being fitted.

Ireland-France route ready

The three ships have arrived in Dunkerque for berth tests and supplies. First departure will be from Rosslare on 2 January.

DFDS’ new route between Ireland and France is getting ready for its first departure. In just a few days, on 2 January at 14:00 (Ire time), a fully booked Optima Seaways will set sail towards Dunkerque – only to be followed by an equally fully booked Kerry departing at 23:00 ex Rosslare on the same day, whilst Visby will depart from Dunkerque towards Rosslare at 23:00 CET.  Its all happening on Saturday.

Kerry arrived in Dunkerque on 27 December and both Visby and Optima Seaways on 28  December for berth tests and the obligatory EU-inspection, that is to ensure that the ships comply with EU regulation before they are allowed to start operating.

Optima Seaways and Kerry are currently en-route to Rosslare in preparation and standby.

In addition to this, the ships were busy taking on stores, with catering supplies for a DFDS branded service and other supplies needed.

Route Director Aidan Coffey has invited Irish TV and newsmagazines for Optima’s departure on Saturday and French and European TV and media for the arrival in Dunkerque on Sunday 3 January.

Due to Covid restrictions, in both Ireland and France, the launch will be a press only event.

Aidan is supported by the busy teams at Rosslare, Dunkerque and the Cork booking office in preparation for a successful launch.

The pictures show the ships after arrival in Dunkerque for inspection and provisions, some sent by Torben Carlsen CEO, who received the pictures of Visby from French photographer  Julien Carpentier, and some were sent to us by Aidan Coffey with the assistance of colleagues in Dunkerque. In the background you can also see DFDS’ Dover-Dunkerque vessels in the port that has developed Dunkerque, into a true DFDS hub.

Covid-19: Minister thanks DFDS

Robert Courts, Minister for Aviation & Maritime.

Shortly before Christmas, the French Government closed the border for passengers and lorry drivers entering the country from the UK because of a mutant coronavirus found in the UK.

Due to an agreement with the UK, the borders opened again on Tuesday 22 December for passengers and drivers who could present a negative Covid-19 test. However, only 144 lorries made it to the ferries before Christmas as the lorries were prevented from getting to the port because of logistical problems caused by testing and blocked roads. This meant that about 4000 vehicles and their drivers were caught up on the M20 motorway and the former Manston Airfield where lorries were stacked.

Filip Hermann, Head of BU Channel, says: This was a terrible situation for the drivers, not least because the port is normally closed on 25 December. But after having received requests from the UK Government and the European Commission at noon 24 DecemberDFDS decided to keep sailing. This was only possible because crew members and operational staff ashore voluntarily and nearly immediately decided to work when they should have been enjoying Christmas with their families.

The extra sailings did help, and today 27 December, the number of waiting lorries is down to a few hundred.

I am personally moved by the dedication of our colleagues to make a real difference for our customers and the communities of which we are part, and I thank everyone working in BU Channel for stepping in at extremely short notice to help the drivers get home and ensuring the flow of goods,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. 

Minister thanks on Twitter 

The UK Government is still advising lorries not to Come to Dover unless they have a negative Covid-19 test, and yesterday, on 26 December, Robert Courts, Maritime Minister, sent our colleagues a thank you for their efforts by means of a video on twitter, which you can watch here.

Newhaven and Newcastle were also affected by the situation and had to work with freight customers. 

DFDS continues operating its Channel ferries during Christmas to support freight drivers

Since France opened its borders for freight drivers with a negative Covid-19 test as at midnight on Tuesday, DFDS has had capacity to ship up to 4,000 trucks across the English Channel on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. However, due to the logistical issues that have prevented freight getting to the port, we have unfortunately only been able to transport 144 trucks out of Dover.

We understand that this is very disappointing for drivers who are currently stuck in queues or at the Manston lorry park, and the company has already added extra sailings to its schedule today to help more drivers get home.

Christmas Day is the only day of the year that the port of Dover is closed. However, at noon today we have received a formal request to operate sailings from the UK government and authorities in the European Union to help to resolve these extraordinary set of circumstances. We are in the process of finding volunteers in our staff who are able to work at short notice, so we can offer up to 30 sailings on 25 December in addition to the extra sailings performed on 24 December.

“In this way, DFDS is playing its part to try to clear the backlog of trucks and our number one priority is the welfare and repatriation of everyone who is dependent on its services. We appreciate the generous support of our colleagues who are leaving their own families on Christmas Day to help the drivers come home,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

On those extra sailings, DFDS’ six Channel ferries will only carry trucks from Dover to France and bring no cargo back to the UK.

No travellers from the UK

In a bid to stop a mutant strain of coronavirus crossing their borders, several nations have banned passenger travelling from the UK. This also affects DFDS and our customers.  

France has decided to ban all kinds of passengers via sea, including lorry drivers, from entering the country from the UK within at least 48 hours from late Sunday. This means that we can only transport unaccompanied trailers from Dover and Newhaven, and even though the border is open for drivers towards the UK, there will probably be gradually  fewer travelling with us as they won’t be able to get back again.  

The Dutch government has banned passengers from entering Holland until 1 January, but still allows lorry drivers to enter the country. This means that the freight traffic continues on all routes. However, normal passengers won’t be able to travel from Newcastle to IJmuiden, but they can still travel with us towards the UK. Passenger traveling was already very limited due to the existing coronavirus restrictions. 

Freight routes unaffected
As DFDS ferry routes from Brevik, Gothenburg, Esbjerg, Cuxhaven, and Rotterdam (Vlaardingen) are freight routes only and only carry unaccompanied trailers, all those routes will continue to operate as usual.  

The entry restrictions for passengers from the UK is very new, and things keep changing all the time. Therefore, we will keep you updated about changes to this as soon as we can. 

Banned flights from the UK? 
France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have all said they will halt flights arriving from the UK. 

The Czech Republic has imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain. 

Flights due to leave Newcastle Airport and head to Amsterdam on Monday have been cancelled. The DFDS ferry between North Shields and Ijmuiden in the Netherlands has also suspended passenger travel. 

Which other countries have implemented travel bans?
Turkey and Morocco have announced they will be suspending air travel from the UK, while the official Saudi Press Agency reports Saudi Arabia is also suspending international flights for one week. 

El Salvador is barring entry to anyone who has visited the UK in the preceding 30 days. 

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said  from midnight Sunday, Canada was putting a 72-hour stop on flights from the UK. 

OFC: Strong freight performance

The Oslo – Frederikshavn – Copenhagen route was relaunched in week 25 with the addition of Frederikshavn. Following this, the route experienced a great development in freight volumes and from week 40 to 45 volumes were even far ahead compared to last year.

From week 45, the route unfortunately had to temporarily lay-up 50% of the tonnage due to the pandemic and travel restrictions between Denmark and Norway.

“This left us with a rolling schedule and only half of our freight capacity, however, already after two weeks the freight figures were back on track and delivered volume ahead of last year. We are happy to see the trend is still pointing upwards – a fantastic achievement” says Freight Manager Lars Kristian Haugen.

He continues: “After a big disruption to our service, I am very proud to see our customers being very loyal and adapting quickly to our new schedule. All customers are still using the service and our biggest problem now, is to have enough capacity to offer.”

Loyalty earned through collaboration
“You cannot just expect this kind of loyalty. It is something that was earned through hard work and dedication from everyone involved” says Kasper Hægeland Svenningsen, Managing Director, Ferry Norway.

“The operation on both sides of the water, the sales force, the people on board and the fantastic cooperation between Passenger and Freight. Together we overcome many obstacles at the moment. A huge thanks to everybody. We are ready with a great platform when the service is back to normal!” says Kasper.

Kim Heiberg, Route Director, says:”It is extremely pleasing to see all the hard work and collaboration by the DFDS family has paid off to the benefit of the route. I am really looking forward to welcoming Crown Seaways back in operation to fulfil the full potential”.

DFDS re-shuffles Baltic ships

Optima Seaways will join the new Ireland-France route during January, and Patria Seaways will move from the Paldiski-Kapellskär route to replace Optima on the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route. There will be no changes to crewing or flag.

After Christmas, Optima Seaways will be moved to DFDS new route between Rosslare in Ireland and Dunkerque in France to help out during January 2021.

On the busy Karlshamn-Klaipeda route, she will be replaced by Patria Seaways from the Paldiski-Kapellskär route where Sirena Seaways will be able to maintain the necessary capacity for the expected volumes at the beginning of the new year.

“The ships will both maintain the Lithuanian flag and current crews, and we have already informed our many customers about the change,” says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic.

“One of our strengths is our ability to change ships on the routes at short notice, and deploy ships in accordance with our customers’ needs and flow of goods. At the end of January, Optima is planned to return to the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route, and Patria to the Paldiski-Kapellskär route,“ says Anders Refsgaard.

“We will ensure that you are continuously being updated on changes in the fleet,” says Anders.

Ferries in place for DFDS’ new Ireland – France freight route

Along with the chartered ferries Visby and Kerry, Optima Seaways will be ready to welcome lorries and their drivers on the new Rosslare – Dunkerque freight route. From 2 January, the route will enable customers to keep their freight transport within the EU and avoid the customs formalities that will apply to transport passing via the UK.

Yesterday we were able to show pictures of the new DFDS office and check-in facilities in Rosslare for our new Rosslare – Dunkerque freight route, which will start operating from Rosslare on 2 January.

“I am extremely pleased to present the three freight ferries that will soon be welcoming our customers’ lorries and their drivers. The three ships are Visby, Kerry and Optima Seaways,” says Aidan Coffey, Route Director.

“Visby and Kerry are chartered ships, including crews, and Optima Seaways is our own ferry, which currently operates between Sweden and Lithuania. A warm thank you to our Baltic colleagues and the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route for helping us with this.”

All three ships are proven and efficient freight ferries with capacity for up to 120 trucks and trailers, and drivers. The drivers will all be comfortably accommodated in their own COVID-19 safe cabins during the crossing.”

There will be six weekly departures from each port. The first departure will be on Saturday 2 January from Rosslare. Sailing time will be just under 24 hours.

“I am very grateful for the positive response to the news about the route, and the interest we have experienced among our customers who appreciate the opportunity to avoid the customs procedures, extra costs and waiting time that will be necessary for transport via the UK land bridge. Also, upon arrival in Dunkerque or Rosslare, the drivers will be fully rested and can continue driving immediately and be able to reach many major destinations within their legal driving limit.”

Kell Robdrup has been leading the work to establish the route that will eventually be part of BU Channel.

Built 2001 at Cantiere Navale Visentini, Italian flag
Length 186.50 m
Breadth 25.60 m
Draft 6.50 m
Speed 23 knots
Cargo capacity: 2,030 lane metres
80 cabins with 288 beds, all with private facilities
Max. cargo height 5.10 m

Built 2003 at the Guangzhou Shipyard Int. in China
Length 196.00 m
Breadth 25.67 m
Draught 6.40 m
Speed 26
Cargo capacity: 1,800 lane metres
92 cabins, all with private facilities
Cargo height up to 5 metres

Optima Seaways
Built 1999, Italy, Lithuanian flag
Length 186 m
Breadth 25.60 m
Draught 6.50 m
Speed 22
Cargo capacity 2,115 m lane metres
80 passenger cabins, all with private facilities
Cargo height up to 5.00 m

DFDS office in Rosslare ready

Port Opps Manager in Rosslare is Dwain Rodgers.

As we reported last week, DFDS will commence sailings on a new freight ferry route between Rosslare in the Republic of Ireland and Dunkerque in Northern France on 2 January.

The news about the route created a lot of interests among customers who saw an opportunity to avoid the customs procedures that will be necessary for transport via the UK landbridge. Also, upon arrival in Dunkerque or Rosslare, the drivers will be fully rested and can continue driving immediately and be able to reach many major destinations within their legal driving limit,” says Aidan Coffey, Route Director. 

“Things are progressing as planned, and I’m very pleased to share those pictures of our new Irish Port Office and Freight Check-in booth at Rosslare Europort. In the pictures you can also see Donna Lynch, our new assisting Port Operations Manager and Dwain Rodgers, our new Port operations Manager, who we know from his six years as a first officer on the Dover Dunkerque D Class’ ships.  

“Within the next days, we will also be able to present the ships for the route.” 

Donna Lynch, new Port Assisting Manager in DFDS new office in Rosslare.

The check-in both is also ready to go and welcome customers for the first voyage on 2 January.   

Freight up 17% in November

We have started to report monthly ferry volumes for freight and passengers to provide additional insight for investors and the general public into the development in volume trends.

November was a very busy month for freight, especially on the UK routes. Our logistics activities to the UK have likewise been very busy in November. When we look at the high growth percentages vs 2019, we should however recall that uncertainty about Brexit slowed trading down in November 2019.

Below is the numbers and text that was released as an investor news announcement earlier today.

Ferry – freight: Total volumes in November were 18% above 2019 adjusted for the closure of the Paldiski-Hanko route. The volume growth for routes calling the UK was 25%.

North Sea volumes were boosted by stockbuilding ahead of Brexit, especially on the routes between Netherlands and UK. Volumes on the English Channel were likewise boosted by the stockbuilding. Baltic Sea volumes were above 2019 adjusted for the closure of the Paldiski-Hanko route. Mediterranean volumes were up driven by the route between southern Turkey and Italy.

Ferry – passenger: Total number of passengers in November 2020 was 80% below 2019. The decrease reflects a continued negative impact from travel restrictions related to Covid-19, especially on the two cruise ferry routes. In the Baltic Sea, passenger numbers were considerably less impacted.


Lighting Christmas

It is Christmas time, and we can prove it. Watch this fantastic video about lighting the famous Christmas tree that, with the help of DFDS, has come from Norway to Trafalgar Square in London for a beautiful lighting ceremony. It is the ultimate sign of Christmas at DFDS.

Usually, our colleagues invite children from schools and other groups to the Nordic Terminal in Immingham to welcome the huge Christmas tree that arrives from Norway on a long trailer on board our ship. This year, COVID-19 got in the way. Instead, this great video tells the story behind Norway’s gift to the UK. It covers cutting the tree, transporting it by trailer and ferry to Immingham, and then  on to Trafalgar Square for a beautiful and touching lighting ceremony.

Enjoy this perfect interview with Andrew Byrne, Ferry’s Managing Director in Immingham and the greetings from the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the Norwegian Ambassador to the UK, and – not least – the many people involved in making the lighting ceremony such a beautiful and spectacular celebration.

DFDS is the World’s Leading Ferry Operator

We are thrilled to announce that DFDS has been awarded World’s Leading Ferry Operator for the tenth consecutive year at the World Travel AwardsThis follows our win earlier this year of Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator. 

The awards recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry and winners are decided by votes from the public and travel industry professionals. 

Peder Gellert, Executive Vice President & Head of Ferry Division, says: “We are delighted to be named ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the World Travel Awards 2020. This year has been a huge challenge for the travel industry and this award reflects the hard work of DFDS staff across EuropeIt is a testament to our teams onboard and ashore who work incredibly hard to provide our passengers with the best possible service.” 

Voted for by both the public and industry professionals, this award means a great deal to us as it comes from those with first-hand experience of our service and our people. This year, they have continued to place their trust in us and in return, we are committed to offering a reliable means of travel with outstanding customer service. Our Travel Guarantee is our commitment throughout 2021 to take our customers where they need to be, whatever the circumstance.’’ 


New direct Ireland – EU route

The new route will offer customers in the Republic of Ireland and on the Continent the opportunity to transport their goods directly to or from other EU countries without customs formalities, additional costs and possible waiting times.

On 2 January 2021, DFDS will commence sailings on a new freight ferry route between Rosslare in the Republic of Ireland and Dunkerque in Northern France.

The route will be serviced by three ropax ferries, each with a capacity for up to 125 lorries and their drivers in single cabins.

There will be six weekly departures from each port, with a crossing time of 24 hours.

Remains in EU’s single market and customs union
“We are extremely pleased to offer customers in the Republic of Ireland and on the Continent the opportunity to transport their goods directly to or from other EU countries without the customs formalities, additional costs and possible waiting times that the end of the Brexit transition period will bring about for road haulage passing through the UK,” says Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of the  Ferry Division.

Driver Friendly and close to major destinations
Upon arrival in Dunkerque or Rosslare, the drivers will be fully rested and can continue driving immediately and be able to reach many major destinations within their legal driving limit.

“For the vast Irish export to continental Europe – e.g. the Agri export worth ~€ 5 Billion per year together with other high value and time sensitive commodities  – the direct sea link will reduce the dependency on the UK land bridge and subsequent border crossings” says Peder Gellert.

New DFDS locations
To establish and develop strong, direct relations with the customers, DFDS offices will be opened in both Rosslare and Cork in Ireland. In France, the new service will be represented by our existing Dunkerque organisation.

From the Republic of Ireland, the route will be managed by Aidan Coffey as Route Director and Darren Mooney as Sales & Customer Service Director supported by Freight Sales Manager Declan Cleary from our Channel organisation

“Please join me in welcoming these new colleagues to DFDS. With their vast experience and DFDS’ position in the freight market, I am confident we have created a winning formula,” says Peder Gellert.

Great collaboration
“We are extremely grateful for the support we have experienced from the Port of Rosslare and the Port of Dunkerque. Their flexibility, professionalism and our excellent cooperation has enabled us to be ready with this service before the end of the transition period at the end of the year. We are confident that this service will benefit customers on both sides of the route,” says Kell Robdrup, SVP and Head of DFDS’ North Sea freight services. Based on his experience with the Irish market, he is leading the work to establish the route and make sure it comes to a good start.

The route will eventually be part of BU Channel’s network to which accompanied traffics in the Channel and the Port of Dunkerque belong.

Our Rosslare-Dunkerque colleagues

Aidan Coffey, Route Director, has vast experience in construction & shipping route development & logistics, He holds a degree in Institutional Management and has gained experience as lead in the initial development of the Cork – Santander Ferry route and other routes.

Darren Mooney,  Sales & Customer Service Director, is former MD of Mooney International Transport. He has owned and managed a major fleet trailers and trucks with depots in Ireland and Belgium. He was distribution manager with R.M.F. freight forwarders and Warehouse and Distribution director for The Quinn Group.

From the Republic of Ireland, the route will be managed by Aidan Coffey (left) as Route Director and Darren Mooney as Sales & Customer Service Director supported by Freight Sales Manager Declan Cleary from our Channel organisation.

New contract with Danish Defence

On Tuesday 24 November 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Morten Kranker and Director Bo T. Nielsen for the Danish Defence and EVP Peder Gellert and Director Fleet Management Henrik Tidblad for DFDS signed an agreement. It means that DFDS must make ships available for maritime transport of military equipment when requested by the Danish Defence. In the picture are (from the left) Jesper Hartvig Nielsen, Henrik Tidblad, Peder Gellert, Morten Kranker and Bo T. Nielsen.

When the Danish or German military participate in NATO or other international military exercises and operations, DFDS will make ships available for the transport of military equipment. An agreement on this was signed today, Tuesday 24 November 2020, by Lieutenant Colonel Morten Kranker and Bo T. Nielsen for the military and Peder Gellert and Henrik Tidblad for DFDS. 

Morten Kranker is head of the Danish Defence’s Joint Movement and Transportation Organization (JMTO), which provides strategic transport for the Danish Defence. Bo T. Nielsen is director of the ARK Project, a DanishGerman collaboration that ensures Danish and German military access to, and availability of, capacity for maritime transport in accordance with the nations own obligations to NATO.

The agreement, which has been entered into following a public tender for the task, replaces a previous agreement between the Danish Defence and DFDS and runs for a total of six years.

The agreement covers a total of seven roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels. The ships will sail with goods on a daily basis on DFDS ferry routes and will be made available to the military when and to the extent requested by the Danish Defence. When the ships operate for the Danish Defence, they will be subject to the ARK Project in the JMTO. 

Morten Kranker is very pleased with the prospect of continued good cooperation in providing the required capacity for Danish and German forces as well as NATO. The Danish Defence carry out a number of tasks with the ships. For example, during the major NATO exercise Trident Juncture in 2018, Denmark was responsible for coordination, planning and delivery of a number of allies strategic sea ​​transport of equipment to and from the exercise. This was in cooperation with the Netherlands and using some of the ships.

Peder Gellert, chief executive of DFDS Ferry Division and member of the group management, says: I am both happy and proud to continue our successful collaboration with the Danish Defence ARK unit and the role that the agreement gives DFDS in a competitive publicprivate partnership that ensures that ships and resources are utilised optimally. 

“As a result of this cooperation, the Danish Defence have participated in a large number of international exercises, and military and humanitarian operations with DFDS ships, including the Danish-led UN mission to transport chemicals out of Syria and Libya, the UN ebola effort in East Africa, for which Denmark has gained great recognition, as well as a number of other important tasks.

I must also say that our crews on the ships and Fleet Management have made the task of entering into an agreement with the military significantly easier for us. Your service and seamanship on board – and by Fleet Management on land – have been of such quality that the military, as you know, has honoured the crew of Ark Futura with medals for their efforts in relation to Syria. We should all be proud of that at DFDS.

Ark Dania
 is one of the seven ships included in the agreement between DFDS and the military. The other ships are: Ark Germania, Suecia Seaways, Magnolia Seaways, Britannia Seaways and Finlandia Seaways. The last ship in the agreement will be one of several ships from the DFDS fleet, to be selected according to need.

DFDS welcomes Christmas Tree

Our colleagues in Immingham has welcomed a famous festive delivery to the port – the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree!

The tree is a token of gratitude from the people of Oslo, Norway, for Britain’s support and assistance during the Second World War, an annual tradition which began in 1947.

This year’s tree is about 23 metres tall and arrived at the Port of Immingham early on Saturday morning on board the DFDS ship, Ficaria Seaways.

Andrew Byrne (on the picture), Managing Director in Immingham, Ferry Division, says: “DFDS has been transporting the tree across the North Sea for more than 25 years. Everybody gets excited about this operation, it’s the start of the festive season and because the tree is so famous it gets lots of attention and our colleagues really want to be involved.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and Christmas will be different  this year so the fact that we can continue this tradition and spread some joy is something we’re really pleased about.”

The tree will be transported to Trafalgar Square by road ready for a virtual lighting-up ceremony on December.

DK Ships: No UK shore leave

Following the UK government’s UK entry restrictions for travelers from Denmark after the discovery of a mutated Coronavirus in mink, DFDS has been in contact with the UK authorities about how to handle the entry restrictions and keep everyone safe.

“This means that ships calling at UK ports from Danish ports and vessels calling at UK ports with seafarers onboard who are resident in Denmark, traveling from Denmark or transiting through Denmark can be regarded as ‘safe bubbles’ provided that they have had a negative COVID-19 test immediately prior to joining the vessel. With ‘safe bubbles’ the UK authorities mean that the vessel can call at UK ports. However, shore leave isn’t permitted in the UK for those ships, ” says Gemma Griffin, VP and Head of Global Crewing.

“I regret that we have to impose such restrictions on seafarers, but if local authorities due to public health reasons refuse disembarkation of seafarers, then seafarers simply cannot go ashore on shore leave. We will intensify the COVID-19 testing so that the risk of seafarers being infected when embarking the vessels is even further reduced. More information on the testing will be communicated by Crewing Department,” Gemma says.

There are no restrictions on shore leave for other ships or seafarers.

DK-UK sailings continue

New travel restrictions due to mutated coronavirus will not affect sailings on DFDS routes.

DFDS sailings on Esbjerg-Immingham and  Copenhagen-Frederikshavn-Oslo won’t be affected by the recent lockdown of Northern Jutland and tightened UK travel restrictions, which were decided after the Danish government informed about cases with a mutated coronavirus spreading from  mink to humans.

“The new restrictions apply to people only, and our cargo on the Esbjerg-Immingham route consists of unaccompanied trailers that can continue being transported as usual;” says Emma Leam-Saville, Agency Director, Immingham.

“The only exception will be that we can no longer accept the 12 drivers on the Esbjerg-Immingham route which we have been able to ship before. The driver accompanied units we have, will need to be changed to unaccompanied cargo.”

“No driver who has been in Denmark during the last 14 days will be allowed to enter the UK on any of our routes,” Emma says.

The Oslo-Frederikshavn- Copenhagen route will continue as usual with one ship.

We will inform about how this will affect crew changes as soon as possible.

New berth well underway in Karlshamn

The expansion of the new berth in Port of Karlshamn is in full swing as you can see on the photos in the gallery. Thank you to Johan Stegerö for sharing the pictures. 

Work commenced in May 2020 and the brand-new berth is expected to be operational Q2 2021 to accept the two 230m long combined freight and passenger ferries that will arrive in summer of the same year. 

The reduction of the breakwater pier is almost completed and work on the new RoRo-berth is ongoing with piling and concrete. Construction of two new structural dolphins has also started, the extraction of rock from the seabed shall commence with blasting in the Port basin very soon. Installation of an automatic mooring system, a wide linkspan, dredging and piling and construction of shore-power station will be installed during next year. 

We are very much looking forward to the delivery of the new berth for our amazing new ferries! 

Covid-19: DFDS reduces sailings on Denmark – Norway

COVID-19: One of the two ships serving DFDS passenger routes on Copenhagen – Oslo and Frederikshavn – Oslo will be temporarily laid up due to tighter travel restrictions. Unfortunately, 20 waiters will be affected, whilst other colleagues will maintain their jobs as a result of trade union agreement, relocation to other ships, etc. 

Increasing infection rates and stricter travel restrictions have reduced further the number of passengers on DFDS passenger ferry routes on Copenhagen – Oslo and Frederikshavn – Oslo in recent weeks. 

With the worsening situation, there are simply too few passengers on board to maintain a full sailing schedule, and therefore we are unfortunately forced to reduce the service to one ship until mid-February, says Kasper Moos, VP, BU Passenger.

“This means that from 2 November, there will in principle be departures every other day from each port instead of every day. We will now inform customers about this via e-mails, social media and DFDS website. 

With the reduced sailing schedule, Pearl Seaways will be DFDS only passenger ship operating between Denmark and Norway, while Crown Seaways will be docked in Copenhagen until mid-February. 

Winning time
The laying-up of Crown Seaways will unfortunately have consequences for the number of employees on board.

It means that we have to say goodbye to 20 waiters working on Crown. It is very unfortunate as they are all colleagues who have worked hard to help ensure continued operation,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer and member of DFDS’ executive management.

“The other crew members in service functions on board are covered by an agreement on shorter turns and a pay reduction with the trade union Metal Maritime, and the ships technical operating crew can use accumulated overtime or be transferred to other ships. This means that we gain time until the start of the new year and so far can keep most of our very experienced employees, so we can quickly restart the route if the COVID-19 situation improves within a few months,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer. 

Kasper Moos adds: I am very pleased to inform that we will be able to avoid redundancies in the passenger organisation ashore. We will be busy preparing campaigns and sales activities to be ready when travel restrictions are lifted. However, it will be necessary to redistribute some tasks and functions for a period of time to use our resources in a way that makes sense. You will be informed about this in more detail.”