Improving despite the pandemic

Torben Carlsen’s CEO letter in DFDS’ 2020 CSR Report:

The power of commitment 

2020 was an extraordinary year that impacted us all. As a transport and logistics company, we are used to being exposed to global events and its impact on our infrastructure. However, the corona pandemic impacted us with such intensity and magnitude that I personally have not experienced anything similar before. When the crisis hit us the hardest, and required us to close our passenger business and furlough of 1/3 of our employees, we leaned on our purpose to move for all to grow. Our commitment kept us focused on doing our utmost for customers and employees. In parallel we introduced our climate action plan, committing us to becoming a climate neutral company by 2050.


Becoming climate neutral by 2050  

Our climate action plan ensures we prioritise our environmental footprint. In an industry with a large carbon footprint, we are committed to finding solutions that will eventually transform how our industry operates. The plan commits to climate neutrality by 2050 by gradually reducing our footprint. We will reduce CO² emissions by 45% by 2030.


Innovation for green fuels

96% of our CO² emissions come from our vessels, making it a natural focal point in our green transition. However, the challenge is twofold: Vessels are designed and built for today’s fuelling, and green fuel alternatives for vessels do not currently exist. To address the first challenge, we focus on several projects aiming to reduce CO² emissions from our existing fleet over the next ten years, as well as reducing CO² emissions from our trucks, travel, cars, and buildings. To find green fuel alternatives, we joined two sustainable fuelling partnerships in 2020. One project aims to develop a hydrogen and e-fuel production facility in Copenhagen. The other aims to build a 100% hydrogen-powered ferry, running on electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell system that emits only water. More partnerships like these will speed up innovation and help us transition and sustain our company and industry in the years to come.


Moving for employees to grow

It is rooted in our DNA to care for our people. As we operate in logistics locations, at terminals, and sea, our people’s safety is a particular focus of mine. With the outbreak of the pandemic, the safety of our people remained a top priority. Our mental health became an issue of concern, with office employees working from home. For our many non-office colleagues, frequent testing and the creation of safe work shift routines were quickly implemented.


Diversity & inclusion

We must develop diverse and inclusive teams in an industry with a long tradition for being diverse on nationalities but less so on gender. Today, our organisation includes 23% women, and it is our ambition to increase that number to 30% by 2023. In 2020, senior leadership in DFDS pledged to make DFDS even more diverse and inclusive. We  made diversity and inclusion a top priority parameter in promotions, recruitments, and projects.

Despite a challenging 2020, I am proud of the progress we made on sustainability. Our commitment to move for all to grow is deeply embedded in our culture and benefits customers and people alike. It helps make us a valuable partner to society.

In closing, I would like to thank our colleagues for their extraordinary commitment to our company during challenging times. A special thank you to customers and our external partners, without whom we would not succeed. Lastly, a thank you to shareholders and our Board of Directors for their continued support.


Torben Carlsen

President and CEO of DFDS Group


Go to 2020 CSR Report 

Another strong quarter for Freight

With the Q4 and full-year report, we mark the end of a very special and difficult year.
But even if we had a hard time in 2020 with the corona crisis and Brexit, there were consolations in some areas which helped us stay strong and resilient.

Read more about our Q4 and full-year results here

Please find the results with additional comments for the individual BU’s here:


Total Freight
Total Q4 freight volumes increased 13.3% compared to 2019 and increased by 14.7% adjusted for a structural route change in Baltic Sea.

Total Passenger
Total Q4 passenger volumes decreased 81.2% compared to 2019 due to the tight travel restrictions that were in place throughout the quarter.

BU North Sea
Q4 freight volumes were up 15.9% compared to 2019. The UK stockbuilding ahead of Brexit boosted volumes on the routes calling the UK, particularly between Netherlands and UK.

Baltic Sea
Q4 freight volumes were up 10.4% compared to 2019 adjusted for a route change. The volume increase was primarily due to an increase in capacity between Estonia and Sweden.

Q4 freight volumes were 17.3% above 2019 as the market was boosted by the UK stockbuilding ahead of Brexit.
Q4 passenger volumes were down 81.1% as tight travel restrictions were upheld throughout the quarter.

Q4 freight volumes increased 4.0% driven by a general uplift in trading between Turkey and Europe as well as an improved level of activity among customers in the region surrounding the Mersin port in southern Turkey.

Travel restrictions were tight throughout the quarter which led to a decrease in passenger volumes of 93.5%. Both ferries between Netherlands and UK remained deployed in the quarter to support freight volumes. One of two ferries were laid up on the route between Norway and Denmark as freight volumes are lower on this route.

Total Q4 logistics volumes increased 2.2% compared to 2019.

Q4 transported units increased 15.0% mainly due to the addition of volumes from the acquisition of a Finnish company in Q4 2019. There was an uplift in volumes from the UK stockbuilding in December but this was offset by lower activity in other areas through the quarter.

Q4 transported units increased 4.8% driven mainly by stockbuilding volumes from Netherlands and Germany to the UK as well as improved performance of the special cargo operations. In Belgium, volumes were below last year due to a decrease in volumes from sectors exposed to Covid-19, including automotive and airline catering.

UK & Ireland
Q4 transported units decreased 7.2% driven by lower volumes in parts of the cold chain activities, including a reduction in warehousing volumes and lower seafood volumes to the catering sector. Scottish aquaculture volumes were above 2019.


Rosslare – Dunkerque ferry route launched


Open for business: When Optima Seaways departed Rosslare Europort for Dunkerque on Saturday 2 January, it officially launched DFDS’ new Ireland-France freight ferry route. The route enables exporters and forwarders to keep their transport within the EU and avoid the customs formalities that apply to transport passing via the UK land bridge. 

At 14:00, on 2 January, the freight ferry Optima Seaways departed the Irish port of Rosslare for Dunkerque with more than 120 lorries and unaccompanied trailers, and drivers on board. This marked the official launch of DFDS’ new route between Rosslare in Ireland and Dunkerque in France. As pictured above, Optima Seaways successfully arrived in Dunkerque at 15:00 on Sunday 3 January. 

The route offers exporters and transport companies direct and paperless lorry transport between Ireland and other EU countries, reduced costs and less waiting time and the opportunity to avoid the customs procedures that now apply to transport via the UK land bridge. 

The route will be serviced by three efficient freight ferries able to hold up to 120 trucks and trailers. Drivers will be comfortably accommodated in their own COVID-19-safe cabins during the crossing. The two chartered ships Visby and Kerry, and DFDS’ own Optima Seaways, will sail on a fixed schedule of six weekly departures from each port. The sailing time will be just under 24 hours. 

“As well as offering a vital alternative to the UK land bridge for Irish industry, Dunkerque represents a key strategic location, with easy access to the Paris region, and close to the French-Belgian border and onward access to the Netherlands and Germany,” says Aidan Coffey, Route Director. 

“We are extremely pleased with the great interest we are experiencing from customers on both sides of the route. This means that the departures are already fully booked. I also want to express a big thank you to Rosslare Europort and the Port of Dunkerque for their great cooperation and support that has helped us get ready for operation in a very short time.” 

Further Information 

Aidan Coffey, Route Director, Email:, direct Line:    + 353  86 068 6495 

Gert Jakobsen, Communications, email:,  +45 24 40 00 43 


Partnership develops autonomous vehicles

The European Commission has outlined the growing need for automated driving systems for heavy commercial vehicles, and there are already a number of initiatives promoting this. 

One is the AWARD project which DFDS takes active part in. It was recently granted nearly €20 million funding by the European Commission. 

“The AWARD project is an exciting partnership of 29 leading industry suppliers who aim to develop and demonstrate systems for driverless heavy-duty vehicles in ports, airports and transport hubs,” says Mads Bentzen Billesø, Senior Project Manager in Innovation & Partnerships.

“It will contribute to the development of automated freight transport solutions in Europe and around the world. DFDS is leading the demonstration part and is heavily involved in development of fleet management and control services together with Applied Autonomy, a solutions and service provider for sustainable autonomous transportation,” says Mads 

Heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers KAMAG, Kion/Linde, Terberg and TLD Group will over the next years develop autonomous vehicles together with leading providers of Sensor and Autonomous Driving Technology. Vehicles will have a very advanced sensor and system setup, and this will enable them to operate in all weather conditions. They will be demonstrated in real logistics operations with end users Avinor, DB Schenker, Rotax and DFDS. 

The benefits and being part of the autonomous future
The automated driving systems can improve safety and efficiency in freight transport. Optimization of fuel consumption and better vehicle utilization are just some of the benefits that can be expected when highly automated systems are used in logistics operations going from hub-to-hub in mixed traffic and in confined areas. 

Matt Ellis, Innovation Lead Autonomous, says: “By understanding what the autonomous future may bring and being part of its evolution we can help to shape it and work out how to use the best parts of it for our operations and the impact it might have on our people. The project will be rolled out from 2021 for 3 years and we are eager to begin testing when it’s ready. We will of course keep you posted on this on the Bridge.” 

“This is another satisfactory result of our engagement in partnerships. Technological development is a must for DFDS to be successful also in the future, and we are currently demonstrating how companies with various areas of expertise together can achieve technological advances that we would not be able to achieve as individual companies,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO. 

EasyMile, a provider of software and complete solutions for driverless mobility and goods transportation, is coordinating the project.

NB: The Project name AWARD is short for All Weather Autonomous Real logistics operations and Demonstrations. 

DFDS ensures essential transport to the UK

Seven Sisters in Newhaven.

The UK Government has agreed contracts worth GBP 77.6 million in total with four ferry companies to ensurferry capacity for transport of vital goods like medicine and food during the first few months after the end of the Brexit transition period.  

“The transition period is set to end on 31 December 2020 and unless the EU and the UK agree a trade deal before this, there will be customs procedures for all transport across borders. The Government’s funding is to ensure that possible bottlenecks caused by this won’t endanger the supply of those vital goods,” says Kell Robdrup, SVP and Head of BU North Sea South. 

For DFDS, it means that we will receive funding to ensure sufficient capacity for those vital goods on the Dieppe – Newhaven and Felixstowe – Rotterdam routes.  

The routes funded are those that are closest to the Dover – France routes where the Government sees the highest risk of disruption to traffic. Also, they expect that some of the driveraccompanied transport will change to unaccompanied transport, meaning that no driver will be accompanying the trailers, which is a specialty of our Felixstowe – Rotterdam route.  

“We can all be really proud of the role DFDS plays in assisting the government with guarantee of the delivery of those vital goodsIt benefits people throughout the UK.

Palletised bricks from DK to UK

16 March was a special day for Immingham as the Shipping Logistics Division for the first time chartered a side port bulk vessel loaded with palletised bricks from Thyboron (Denmark) to Immingham (UK). Following several weeks of negotiations with customer, UK Brick, and supplier, NRSB, it was rewarding to witness the first and last pallet discharged from the vessel, on time and in full.

Mike Hughes, Commercial Manager, says: “The success of this first service will now lead to more regular flows. We expect to have one per month, and approximately 20,000t of product per annum. From our dedicated brick storage point in Immingham, UK Brick distributes the product to all areas of the UK. The brick storage facility added significant value to the customer during the abrupt COVID-19 lockdown, which enabled the customer to require a second service on 27 April, even though much of the UK construction market was non-operational. “

The gradual easing of the lockdown has allowed the construction market to re-start operations, which has already seen all stock from the first vessel delivered and significant levels of stock from the second service also delivered. This has ensured the third service, scheduled to arrive on 29 June will continue as planned.

Mike says: “The customer is absolutely delighted with the service provided by DFDS, and the full door to door service offering, which includes the vessel chartering. This is a really big and important win, even more so during these strange times. A huge thank you goes out to all those involved in developing and delivering this new service, and we look forward to continuing with this new business for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.”

Another day at work

We received this video from the Esbjerg Terminal, and though it isn’t operated by DFDS, it provides a very interesting view into the work of a tugmaster driver. Watch the video and see the operation from the viewpoint of the driver.

A big thank you to the staff at Esbjerg Terminal for participating in the video, and to Michael Stig and Jesper Hartvig Nielsen for providing footage and information.

France: New ways of handling Customs will reduce costs

Two Mediterranean routes have changed their customs declaration processes for imports to France and the EU. This has led to more efficient operations and cost savings.

All cargo to enter EU ports needs a so-called “ENS clearances” (Entry Summary Declaration), which is a security assessment. On the Yalova-Séte and Tunis–Marseille routes they used to work with external suppliers for administration of the ENS clearances, as this requires specialist knowledge, which, at the time, DFDS did not have.

As a supplier announced that they would be going out of business soon, DFDS had to find an alternative solution on a short notice. Fortunately, due to Brexit preparations and our new Turkish organisation integration, we have built up more in-house knowledge of doing ENS clearances directly. Therefore, a project team consisting of IT, the local business as well as Group Customs (Indirect Tax) was assembled to come up with a solution to this.

Cooperation crucial for new solution
The team searched for a company that could do ENS clearances directly and digitally based on a direct connection from DFDS systems. They finally chose the company MGI in Marseille, offering customs and ICS declaration services around Europe through their partners’ network. (ICS – Import Control System – is the electronic security declaration management system for imports to the EU.)

“We already had indirect experience with them in both Marseille and Séte and as their offer was also competitive, they were the obvious choice,” says Stephanie Thomas, Head of Customs & Excises and member of the DFDS group taxation team.

Parallel to this, the Turkish IT Development Centre completed work on an ICS module which can gather and submit all customs related information from DFDS to third parties. The team is also indebted to the central role of the Customs & Compliance team in our Finance Service Centre in Poznan as well as our Turkish IT Development Centre. Their fast reaction has been crucial to the project. Due to all this collaboration, the final process and data flow was born, linking to French Customs via MGI.

Successful go-live
“Both routes have since successfully gone live with the new solution and cutting out “the middlemen” suppliers is expected to save around €100.000 per year once the routes return to full capacity after the current crisis. Moreover, this solution also paves the way for the next step: selling customs brokerage activities to our customers in France,” says Jimmy Marolle, Agency Director France.

“Customs is often neither exciting nor easy. However, in this case, it is a motivating example of the capabilities of our organisation to cooperate and develop efficient, cost saving products and flows,” says Attila Gulyas, Project Lead, DIO Freight Ferry.

“The IT team will continue to investigate ways of further automating and improving the process and the dataflow. Furthermore, we will explore what can be reused from this solution in our Brexit preparations,” he adds.


Important customs terms
The world of customs is full of acronyms and herewith – we are happy to teach you two of them to make sense of this article:

ENS is an acronym for Entry Summary Declaration. ENS is required by EU customs to do a security assessment of all cargo entering EU ports.
ICS (Import Control System) is the electronic security declaration management system for the importation of goods into the European Union customs territory.

Challenging situation in the Gothenburg Terminal

The Gothenburg Ro-Ro terminal will be hit by loss of business during the Covid-19 crisis. As the trade union, in contrast to other employees in Sweden, refuses to go on leave based on the Swedish Short- Time Work Allowance, management has no alternative to starting negotiations on staff reductions to bring the terminal through the Covid-19 crisis.

The Gothenburg Ro-Ro terminal in Sweden will also be hit by a Covid-19 reduction in volumes. However, the terminal’s management team is facing a challenging situation as the negotiations about the Short- Time Work Allowance failed.

“Both Sweden, the terminal and our many customers are in an extremely difficult situation. To mitigate the consequences for us and our customers, and to bring the terminal safely through the crisis, we have had a dialogue with our trade union Transportarbetarförbundet in order to temporarily adjust staff in the terminal to the lower workload and at the same time maintain the flexibility of staffing we need to serve ships that depend on weather and wind,” says Björn Wånge, Managing Director of Gothenburg Ro-Ro.

Paid short-term leave in accordance with the Swedish Short- Time Work Allowance has been positively received by employees of many Swedish companies and is seen as an opportunity to jointly help companies and workplaces through the crisis, without permanently damaging the company and employment. Employees get more than 90% of their salary during the leave.

“However, in spite of long negotiations, we failed to reach an agreement on temporary leave for our workers. Therefore, we see no other option than to begin negotiations for termination due to shortage of work. It is a very sad situation, which I regret very much, but we are simply left without any alternatives,” says Björn.

Ark Dania in contact with quay

Extreme wind conditions caused contact and damage above the waterline when Ark Dania arrived at Esbjerg. Photo by Peter Therkildsen.


In spite of tug boat support, Ark Dania unfortunately came a bit too close to the quay at arrival in Esbjerg today under extreme wind conditions. As the picture shows, the contact caused some damage to the hull above the waterline.

The damage has now been assessed by the yard and classification society, and the plan is to repair the ship while in port.

“We expect that she will be able to depart on Friday 14 February. Luckily, Fleet Management has been able to charter the freight ferry Misida to replace Ark Dania until Friday. Misida will be leaving Vlaardingen today and be in Immingham for Ark Dania’s scheduled departure tomorrow. This means we will only be losing today’ sailing from Esbjerg to Immingham,” says Kell Robdrup, SVP, BU North Sea South, who has already informed the customers about the delay this will cause the customers scheduled to leave Esbjerg today.

Ark Dania damaged above the waterline when hitting the quay in Esbjerg.

Colleagues celebrate milestone with DSV Estonia

Pictured from left: Jaan Lepp, CEO, DSV Estonia; Peeter Ojasaar, RD DFDS; Jaak Roosa, Head of Scandinavian operations, DSV; Liivo Blei, Operations Manager, DSV; Tarmo Bachmann, GM Freight Sales, DFDS.

Even though Christmas and New Year were closing in, our colleagues working the Paldiski – Kapellskär route had other things to celebrate as well.

The biggest client on the route, DSV Estonia, had reached an impressive 100.000 lm on the route for 2019 and that called for a celebration.

Peeter Ojasaar, Route Director, says: “To celebrate this fantastic milestone, we decided to order custom-made cake and take it to our customer’s head office in Tallinn to show our gratitude and appreciation of good and fruitful cooperation.”

Jaan Lepp, CEO for DSV Estonia, who is retiring from this position after 30 years in the business, said thanks for very good and mutually beneficial cooperation over the years and expressed his hope that this will continue for many years to come.

Christmas treat for freight drivers

Freight drivers for Channel sailings enjoyed complimentary Christmas meals on-board


While many of us were preparing and enjoying Christmas Eve with our families, freight drivers were still on the roads and ships, making sure goods arrive and trade flows.

As a small treat to drivers crossing the Channel on our Dover to Calais and Dunkirk routes, they were able to enjoy a complimentary Christmas meal on-board on sailings from 21 to 24 December.

Traditional Christmas turkey, served with pigs in blankets, roast parsnips in honey, batons of carrots, Brussel sprouts and crispy roast potatoes in a flavoursome jus were served.

A selection of festive dessert treats followed, including mince pies and homemade classic desserts all served in the exclusive on-board driver area, Road Kings.

Dave Lewis, Food & Beverage manager, Says: “Truck drivers face long and variable working hours, long distances and tight schedules. We recognise all year round how important good food and rest is and it’s especially great that we’re able to offer all our freight customers a complimentary Christmas dinner for them to enjoy the festive spirit on-board our ships.”


Source: The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

DFDS and Port of Karlshamn commit to the future

Per-Henrik Persson, Route Director for Klaipėda – Karlshamn: “Contract signed between DFDS and Port of Karlshamn formalises partnership for the next 10 years.”


In December an important deal between DFDS and Port of Karlshamn was signed for the development of our future business together.

The signatures formalise a partnership for the next 10 years in Karlshamn that includes mutual commitment to enabling a continued development and growth of DFDS ferry services at the port. Port of Karlshamn will now launch investments in order to accommodate larger vessels and volume growth.

“We are of course very pleased to have this contract. We see this as a confirmation of a good partnership and that Port of Karlshamn is seen as a strategic logistics node for DFDS A/S and the development of its network in the Baltic,” says Mats Olsson, CEO at Port of Karlshamn.

“Now we will launch investments totalling SEK 150 million – about EUR 14 million – which is the largest in many years. The expansion programme includes, for example, a third ro-ro berth, the widening of another, dredging, expansion of parking areas and queuing areas for accompanied and unaccompanied vehicles. We will have some co-funding from the EU, which signals that Port of Karlshamn and the DFDS route Karlshamn – Klaipėda are considered to be an important link for trade between Sweden and the neighbouring countries on the eastern Baltic.”

Per-Henrik Persson, Route Director for Klaipėda – Karlshamn, says: “The extensive newbuilding programme at DFDS includes two ro-pax vessels intended for the Baltic Sea routes, a total investment of about DKK 1.75 billion. With a length of 230 metres, a freight capacity of 4,500 lane metres and capacity to carry 600 passengers, these vessels will be a very welcome addition in the Baltic Sea.

“The effort and investment by Port of Karlshamn are very positive. It will secure our possibility for a continued development of a route which is of strategic importance for trade and DFDS. We have a very good co-operation with the port and we look forward to developing our mutual business for a long time to come.”



Immingham welcomes Tableau

Tableau training in Immingham
Having up to date and easy to read information is a must in the busy shipping world we all work in, so the team in Immingham decided it was time to jump onboard with the latest technology and delve into the wonderful world of Tableau (the DFDS data visualisation tool).

Claire Grange, Finance Business Partner, says: “DFDS Seaways PLC recently welcomed Marta Grytka and Iga Kotra from the Business Intelligence team to present the Tableau system and show how easy it can be to integrate its features into our daily working lives. Over two days Marta and Iga presented the Tableau system to the commercial teams and gave training on how to create our own dashboards, that can be used to share information with all our internal and external customers, enabling us to provide data in a quick, easy and presentable format.”

Managing Director Andrew Byrne says: “We operate a very complex business with many conflicting priorities, so having accurate, reliable and easy to read information is critical to our success. Tableau will help us transfer the large amounts of data we have into information that we can use internally and externally to make better business decisions which will help us achieve our WIN23 objectives. A big thank you to Marta and Iga for helping us get started with Tableau”.

Can a ship actually swallow this?

People who do not work in DFDS, would probably not believe that this huge bridge part could actually be loaded onto a ship and sailed across the water from Vlaardingen to Immingham.

44 meters long, 2.9 meters wide, and weighing 68 gross tons (including the trucks transporting the cargo), these parts were at a weight class in a whole other division than the usual cargo.

However, our colleagues know it can, and enthusiastically took up the challenge. After several weeks of preparation, six special transport loads were shipped by Gardenia Seaways on the Rotterdam-Immingham route in one lot. The bridge parts are used for the construction of a bridge for junction 7 on the M4 by Huntercombe.

Due to out of gauge dimensions lorries could only drive and enter our Vlaardingen Terminal in the evening-time under escort.

“With large cargo like this, manoeuvring during the day causes a lot of practical challenges in traffic. Doing it in the evening means that less cars on the road are affected by the transport ensuring a safer and easier escort to lead its movement. There is also less traffic on our terminal at that time.” says Ger van der Vliet, Shipping Logistics Manager.

“Thank you to all staff on the terminals in Rotterdam and Immingham, agencies and the crew on board Gardenia Seaways for the professional team support and collaboration. Job well done”.

Ferry’s Sales conference: Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

DFDS Win23 strategy sets up ambitious goals of an annual operational profit of at least 5.5 bn in 2023. This ambition rests very much on the shoulders of our sales force, and with this in mind, Peder Gellert had invited 70 sales colleagues from 13 location to the Ferry Sales Conference 2019, which took place over two days in Ghent at the end of October.

How sales are to do their part of the job was the key question at the conference, and after two intense days of networking, learning and discussing, the simple answer was: ‘collaboration’. Or more elaborately, be inspired by best practice and colleagues, improve sales through collaboration – as Kasper Damgaard, VP of BU Metal & Forest and Client Engagement put it.

The emphasis on collaboration shaped all conference activities, including a “Future of Selling” workshop which – with external assistance – dealt with changes in customer behaviour and industries.

Even the entertainment served as ignition for better collaboration. The Danish TV-star Jan Hellesøe challenge participants with a lesson on how mindful we shall be when communicating with our customers and each other.

Collaboration was also the very reason for inviting our customer Outokumpu to the conference. Outokumpu is a global stainless steel manufacturer whose Senior Manager for European Transportation talked about sustainability and digitisation, and the paradigms that shape the future of the industry on all levels – a presentation that scored highest among the participants. Outokumpu also stressed the importance of the overall safety of transportation and – luckily – concluded that DFDS is considered as a reliable partner that can adapt to continuously fluctuating economic indicators.

“Closer partnerships with customers will be a goal for the sales force in the future in our aim to be even more proactive and innovative in the cooperation with customers.”

“It was a fruitful conference which gave us a clear idea of the job we have ahead of us in order to meet our Win23 goals and how we can do it. I was impressed by the dedication I felt among everyone, and thank the organisers from the headquarters and Sam de Wilde’s local team for a very well organised conference,” says Peder Gellert.

At Ferry’s Sales Conference 2019 in Ghent, Jelle Van Koevorden presented the Smart Gate Terminal in Ghent.

Jelle van Koevorden to be MD of Ferry in Belgium

Jelle van Koevorden will be the Ferry Division’s new Managing Director for Belgium as of 1 January.

As an MD, he will be responsible for the agency servicing the Ghent – Gothenburg, Zeebrugge – Gothenburg and the Zeebrugge – Immingham – Norway freight routes as well as the Ghent terminal. His responsibility will also include our multimodal activities in Belgium with rail links to Trieste, Barcelona, Lyon and Le Boulou, as well as the container barge service on Ghent – Antwerp and Ghent–Rotterdam.

The Terminal in Ghent will continue to be managed by Raf de Wit, Terminal Director, who will report to Jelle.

Jelle will report to Morgan Olausson, VP & Head of BU North Sea North.

“I am very pleased that Jelle has accepted this challenge. He is extremely well prepared for the job as he was Business Development Manager from 2016, and later on, General Manager Commercial in Ghent. These jobs have given him valuable experience with our customers and markets. I think we are extremely lucky that we have been able to fill a key position on so short notice with an internal candidate who is also participating in our talent development Program, Horizon,

Jelle van Koevorden (31) was born in Tiel, The Netherlands and studied in Antwerp and Besançon. He graduated in Logistics Management and completed courses at Master’s level in Logistics & Transport (Maritime Law & Supply Chain  Management). After traineeships in the shipping industry and international logistics companies, he joined DFDS as Business Development Manager in 2016. He lives with his wife and child in Bazel, Belgium

Morgan Olausson says: “Please join me in congratulating Jelle on his new role and responsibilities. Jelle and Raf will be a strong team that can ensure the continued growth of our business in Belgium. I trust you will all join me in welcoming Jelle to the management team and that you will all support him in his new role.”

Jelle will replace Sam de Wilde, who will be leaving DFDS at the end of the year for a new management job in Antwerp where he lives.

Video showing RDF export process

Andusia Recovered Fuels has produced a video that explains the refuse derived fuel (RDF) export process.

Every week, during a 36 week-period from mid-late September to May the next year, DFDS Immingham handles around 1000 tonnes of baled refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for customer, Andusia. The bales consist of processed domestic waste which are incinerated at an EfW (Energy from Waste) plant. The excess heat is used to generate electricity and district heating for Oslo in Norway.

“Back in June, Andusia visited Immingham filming our ferries for a video showing the whole supply chain from waste collection in Leeds in the UK to delivery at the EfW plant in Norway. The video gives a great introduction to the export process” says Mike Hughes, Business Development Manager.

New intermodal connection from Istanbul to Cologne

Our terminal in Trieste will ensure that our customers’ goods have a smooth transition between train and ferry

Our cooperation with transport company Ekol is turning out to be very good for our customer service. As a result of our agreement with Ekol on transport of trailers in the Mediterranean, DFDS can now provide a direct connection between the Istanbul region in Turkey and Cologne in Germany. Ekol will continue to use this connection, thus providing the volumes to make the start-up phase smooth.

Giancarlo De Marco Telese, Intermodal Operations Manager, says: “This became possible when the connection between Trieste and Cologne shifted from ‘Ekol only’ to ‘open’ for all customers of DFDS and Kombiverkehr (the railway partner in the project). With this, customers can reach northern Germany quickly. It is easier for our customers to plan transport as they only communicate with DFDS, and it reduces the lead time compared to alternative solutions. The train runs eight round trips per week with a weekly capacity of 512 units, and it only takes 20 hours to go between Cologne and the DFDS Trieste terminal in Italy.”

Together with Munich and Ludwigshafen, Cologne is the third direct connection with Germany, proving that intermodal transportation is a lively market as more and more customers realise the added value of moving unaccompanied units by rail.

DFDS tests transport of RDF bales via rail

DFDS are always looking at innovative ways to move freight, but what if we could decrease our carbon footprint at the same time?

“This is what we are trying to achieve with RDF bales that are located at sites normally too far away in the UK and too expensive in haulage to bring to Immingham. However, we are currently testing options to use the rail heads that are connected to the Immingham Terminal for this,” says Mike Hughes, Business Development Manager.

“If we are able to tap into these volumes it will both increase tonnage moved for the customer and the export tonnage for DFDS as the RDF bales are currently going to exit non-DFDS ports located near the RDF processing sites.”

GB Railfreight supplied their newly painted ‘pride’ locomotive and two rail wagons while Westfields Plant & Management Services (located on Immingham dock) rallied round to get a grab and machine to try out the loading / unloading of RDF bales. This test may not seem that spectacular. However, this isn’t happening anywhere in the UK so DFDS could be at the forefront of offering this specific solution, creating a huge win for the three parties involved (DFDS, Geminor and GB Railfreight).

“Even though this was only a test, we can now figure out how we move forward. A lot of time and effort has gone into just getting to this stage, and there will still be a lot of hard work ahead to find the ideal rail wagon that can transport the maximum number of bales safely while being efficient with the loading and unloading,” says Mike.

“In order to achieve a cost-effective solution, we would be looking to move around 1500 tonnes per journey, which is equivalent to around 55 truckloads of RDF. This is a really exciting time for the RDF market when export tonnage has been pretty static over the last 12 months and we are competing with other ports to secure volumes. Being able to offer a new solution like this could just be the answer to increasing the throughput for the port/terminal and routes. I am very confident with the teams involved, and we all have high ambitions to make it work.”

The loading operation was carried out by Westfields Plant & Management Services

Massive generator and transformer via Kiel to Klaipėda

Reloading of the smaller 133-tonne generator with the help of two cranes, from barge onto road train. This road train had a length of 34.7m, a width of 3.95m and a total weight of 206 tonnes

Last week, our colleagues on the Kiel – Klaipėda route had some heavy lifting to do. On Tuesday, they arranged the transport of a 133-tonne generator from Kiel to Klaipeda on board Regina Seaways and the day after a 206-tonne transformer on Victoria Seaways.

The generator was delivered from Heldesleben in Germany and the transformer from Turkey, both to be used for an extension of the electricity network in Lithuania. They were transported to Kiel by barge and reloaded onto road trains that drove the units on board the ferries.

Due to the massive weight of both units, Port of Kiel needed to order an external crane to support their own crane with lifting the units from barge to road train as shown on the picture.

“It was an awesome demonstration of our ability to ship units of abnormal dimensions and weights,” says Ramona Boradshiew, Supervisor, Cargo Sales.

“A big thank you to the captains of Regina Seaways and Victoria Seaways, Alvydas Macius and Kristijanas Kiseliovas, as well as all other involved parties – port offices, stevedores and vessels – who helped to complete the special transport with great co-operation and engagement.”

Unloading of the 206-tonne transformer with the 334-tonne and 59-metre long road train in Klaipėda. This road train is impressive by its dimensions, including 4.55 metre width

Northbound Gothenburg – Zeebrugge ferry utilises empty Stora Enso Container Units

A problem turned into a win as the Stora Enso Container Units are used both ways, opening up for new northbound volume.


It is always great to see challenges and problems turn into opportunities and wins at DFDS. In such a way, a problem of sorts arose with the return trip for the empty Stora Enso Container Units (SECUs), which are customised for carrying paper reels from Gothenburg to Zeebrugge, and were previously returned empty to Gothenburg.

But minds and hands were not idle. The new route between Zeebrugge and Gothenburg gives DFDS and customers a unique solution to load the empty northbound SECUs with all kinds of palletised cargo, paper, steel and other industrial cargo, two to three full trailers worth and up to 80 tonnes.

“We are now adapting the warehouse in Gothenburg not only for steel coils, special cargo and RDF handling, but also cross-docking cargo from SECU to trailers and road trains,” says David Wallgren, Operations Manager of Shipping Logistics & Special Cargo in the Ferry Division.

“We hope this setup will attract new volume to the route. We know the solution is very efficient and it helps forwarders and industrial customers ease the imbalance in the corridor, while we avoid shipping empty units.”

Logistics and Ferry join Tata Steel in Ijmuiden to share and learn

Inside Tata’s autonomous steel warehouse

Last year, some of our DFDS Metal team colleagues visited Volvo Cars in Gothenburg.

This year, DFDS Metal team members from both Logistics and Ferry met with Tata Steel in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden.

Tata Steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer. They make steel in the UK and the Netherlands and have manufacturing plants across Europe.

Niclas Bohlin, Industry Sales Expert for Europe, says: “During our one-day session we delved into what we see as challenges in our respective companies, and we discussed matters like safety and innovation to make sure that we continue to offer the logistics solutions that our customers need now and tomorrow.”

Autonomous steel warehouse optimises storage and reduces damage to cargo
The meet-up also included a visit to Tata’s new autonomous steel warehouse.
“It is a really safe place, as operators are not allowed into the operations area. Tata optimises storage via computer planning and prepares outgoing cargo during the night to better handle inbound cargo during the day. The warehouse is connected to the factory via an autonomous rail connection, and all these processes result in less cargo being damaged and things running more smoothly,” says Niclas.

The importance of working with several levels of the customer organisation
“Knowing the customers on more levels than just logistics means that we get a better understanding of their challenges and are better positioned to work more efficiently and safely. When we also share knowledge with our customers’ colleagues in operations, sales and IT, we build trust both ways, which in turn makes us better able to expand our businesses together,” says Niclas.

First sailing on the new Sète – Pendik route completed

In June we announced the addition of the Sète – Pendik route to our France – Turkey route network. Yesterday our freight ferry, UND Ege, completed the first sailing on the route and arrived in Sète with 170 units on board. As you can see below, she was happily welcomed by Peder Gellert Pedersen, EVP & Head of the Ferry Division, his wife Carina Pedersen, Kemal Bozkurt, VP of Operations for BU Med, and Jimmy Marolle, Route Director.

Kemal says: “We will have two weekly sailings between Sète and Pendik, with the ferries UND Ege and UN Karadeniz operating on the route. In total we have four weekly sailings between Turkey and France”

“This route brings a lot of possibilities and potential for growth due to its existing intermodal facilities. It will enable our customers to use trains to central Europe and connect to our DFDS network in northern Europe, forming a more unified transport solution across Europe.

“The small Sète team was assisted by three colleagues from the office in Pendik. They all did a great job working through a tough job on a busy day” says Kemal.


Time for a quick group picture with UND Ege in the background completing her first sailing on the route. From left: Carina Pedersen, Kemal Bozkurt, Peder Gellert Pedersen and Jimmy Marolle

UND Ege unloaded 170 units and loaded 110 in Sète


Kemal Bozkurt, Captain Ismail Besikci and Peder Gellert Pedersen