Brexit: Duty Free is back

From 1 January 2021, Duty Free is back onboard our ships between the UK and the EU.

The last time we had Duty Free on our UK routes was in 1999 when it was decided that Duty Free shopping for passengers travelling between two EU countries would come to an end. Now the UK will no longer be an EU country, and Duty Free will once again be available onboard our routes Newcastle – Amsterdam, Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkirk and Newhaven – Dieppe.

Tax free shopping will be available on products in our onboard shops including perfume, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco and technology.

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of Passenger, says: “We are very pleased to be able to offer duty free shopping to our passengers travelling to or from the UK. It will make the experience of sailing with us even better – we don’t expect people to travel with the main purpose of shopping tax free, but it will contribute to an even better total travel experience.

Once the corona crisis is over, we anticipate an increase of revenues in the shops due to the tax free sale, and we look very much forward to refining this area.”

Read more about Duty Free on

Special reward for all

2020 stands out as one of the most difficult years in recent history for DFDS and our customers, and in particular for everyone of you working to keep things moving for our customers and handle the many challenges caused by Covid-19 and Brexit.  

Therefore, in the live event today, Torben Carlsen announced that the Board has decided to award every DFDS employee 50 DFDS shares as a special recognition of your extraordinary work in 2020.   

At today’s share price, the 50 shares have a value of about 1800 Euro.  

You will receive the 50 shares or the value of 50 shares in December 2023 if you are still a DFDS employee at that time. The share price in December 2023 will determine the value of the 50 shares if you are employed in a country where the award will be paid in cash. 

Shares or cash 

To avoid the complications of receiving share awards in many countries, we have decided on a simple process.  

This means that those of you who work in Denmark and in the UK will receive the reward as shares.  

Those of you working in all other countries, will receive the value of the fifty shares as a cash payment.  

You will hear more soon 

You do not need to do anything nowThe People Division will inform you about the reward in more detail during January and FebruaryPlease await this further information before you raise potential follow-up questions.  

It has certainly been a tough year on everyone, and we hope that our Brexit preparations, Covid-19 measures and a vaccine will help bring everyone a much better 2021.  Your continued effort, flexibility and support to DFDS is highly appreciated and from the bottom of our hearts, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy and relaxing holiday season

The Board of Directors and the Executive Management Team 

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

Sixth mega freight ferry on sea trial

Winter has come to Jinling Shipyard in China, but the biting cold will not prevent the site team from ensuring that we get a brand-new ferry in the beginning of next year.
With a snow-covered weather deck, the sixth and final mega freight ferry departed from the shipyard for sea trial this morning at 07:15 local time. This is the last sea trial in the massive Jinling newbuilding project that consisted of an order of six new 6,700 lane metre freight ferries with the capacity for 450 trailers.
Under realistic conditions, the site team together with Peter Kornum, Michael Kristiansen and Stefan Börgesson fromDFDS will evaluate and oversee performance regarding speed, maneuverability, equipment, systems, and safety to ensure that everything is operating normally before delivery.
She is expected to return to the shipyard on 19 December.
Thank you to Jens Peter Baltsersen, Senior Project Manager, for sharing the picture of the mega freight ferry on the Yangtze River.

Horizon talents cross finish line

From the online celebration

As you know, DFDS created the Horizon Programme in 2015 to develop and retain our future leaders and business critical talents. And now, we can congratulatHorizon Team 3 on their graduation last week.

It was no small accomplishment as Covid-19 made it even more challenging than it already was.

It started two years ago when 45 candidates were nominated by their managersAfter a very intense Assessment Centre test, including interviews with the members of the Executive Management Team, personality tests, IQ tests, individual tasksmany group tasks and very little sleep (see a video summary below), 24 talented candidates from all parts of DFDS were selected for the programme and an unforgettable training journey.

The article continues below the video.

After adjustments along the way, among others for maternity leave, 21 happy (and tired) graduates crossed the finish line last week.

Not a free ride 

The programme runs for 15 months, with three classroom modules of three or four days each, usually taking place close to a DFDS location. 

It may sound glamourous, but it is hard work.

Before and after each classroom module, participants are expected to complete pre-study, project work, individual or group reflection reports, and pass knowledge tests. They are expected to invest at least 10-15% extra time on top of normal work hours throughout the 15 months.

Participants learn from internal and external keynote speakers and facilitators, and go through various intellectual, emotional and physical challenges – and work in groups to solve real business issues relevant to the success of DFDS and present their results to the stakeholders. 

The three modules are organised around three focus areas: self-development, business strategy, collaboration. 

Throughout the programme participants are paired with a buddy to increase learning and support and receive individual feedback and support dedicated colleague in Training & Development, as well as regular sessions with an external, certified coach.

For 12 months following the programme, they get an internal DFDS mentor to guide and support them through their further development.

Covid-19 disruption 

At Klithuset participants learned about intrinsic motivation, setting goals, cross-cultural differences, change management and presentation skills. They gave and received feedback to each other, were pushed out of their comfort zone and – literally – walked on fire.

Horizon team 3 at Klithuset in June 2019

In Istanbul they learned about business strategy through lectures and games. Following six weeks of research, they made final presentationto Peder Gellert, Lars Hoffmann, Kemal Bozkurt, Fuat Pamukçu and Cenk Altun about BU Med’s intermodal strategy, pricing strategy, and potential new routes strategy. Peder says: “I was really impressed by the high quality of their analysis and recommendations, which helped the BU Med management in our reflections and decisions“.

Horizon team 3 on board Ephesus Seaways in Istanbul in November 2019

Due to Covid-19, the last module that was planned for late April on Pearl Seaways, had to be replaced by e-learninglive sessions in Q4 on topics like emotional intelligence, crucial conversations and preparing for the mentoring process.

Project work useful for DFDS 

Participants resumed their project work in September and on 17 and 19 November made their final online presentations to the EMT on business relevant topicselected by the People DivisionTalent Mindset, Integration after Acquisition, Workforce MobilityOnboarding and Collaboration across DFDS.

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel supported each group with a sparring session at the beginning of their research and a debrief after their final presentation. She says “Congratulations to all graduates. I was very impressed by your engagement, creativity and the quality of your projects that gave us a lot of data and recommendations that we can use to improve some of our work in the People Division. You are role models in challenging yourselves and being active in your own learning. I hope you will continue this and encourage others to do so as well.” 

Torben Carlsen adds: “have been blown away by the quality of your work even under sometimes very difficult conditions. You have clearly shown what diverse teams with effective collaboration can deliverI hope you will continue to be curious, open-minded and dare stepping into the unknown. Congratulations to all graduates and a big thank you to the Training & Development team for running very professional programme and for caring. Thank you also to the mentors for dedicating their time and attention to this.” 

See the graduates of Horizon Team 3.

The mentors: Allan Bell, Anders Refsgaard, Eddie Green, Emma Leam, Fuat Pamucku, Jacob Andersen, Jesper Hartvig Nielsen, Jonas Nazarovas, Karolina Landin, Kasper Moos, Kasper Damgaard, Kim Heiberg, Lars Hoffmann, Henrik Tidblad, Pernille Dyrmose, Sarah Holloway, Sean Potter and Valdemar Warburg.

Are you next on the Horizon?

The next nomination process will be launched in the second quarter of 2021. Read more here.

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 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.’’ 


Project: Zero emission Oslo ferry

An illustration of the hydrogen-powered ferry that DFDS and its partners aim to develop.


DFDS and its partners have applied for EU support for development of a ferry powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell which only emits water. Green hydrogen is to be produced by a projected offshore wind energy-powered electrolyser plant in Greater Copenhagen.

The Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen route  currently suffers under the pandemic. ”However, this does not mean that DFDS has lost sight of the long-term development of this historic and important route – or our ambitious climate plan targets. On the contrary, we have partnered with other major companies in order to develop a 100% hydrogen powered ferry that can eventually be used on this route – or another route,” says Torben Carlsen.

The power will be provided by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits nothing but water and can produce up to 23 MW to propel the ferry.

“The largest fuel cells today produce only 1-5 MW, and the development of  such  large-scale fuel cell installations  for maritime operation is a monumental task, which we can only succeed with in partnerships between companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels,” says Jakob Steffensen, Innovation and Environment  lead. Along with Mads Bentzen Billesø, he has shaped the idea in close dialogue with the project partners and DFDS colleagues from across the organisation.

The partnership committed to achieving this includes DFDS, ABB, Ballard Power Systems, Hexagon Purus, Lloyd’s Register, KNUD E. HANSEN, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance.

“Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’ climate plan,” says Torben.

The partnership has applied for support from the EU Innovation Fund. As there are no ferries of this kind in the world today, the development of the ferry will require public involvement. However, if the project develops as projected, the ferry could be in full operation on the route as early as 2027.

The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen based on offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.

The ferry that has the working name Europa Seaways, is designed for 1,800 passengers and has capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars.


Vessel and route details
On board power production PEM Fuel cells
Engine power 23MW
Fuel Compressed hydrogen
Fuel tank capacity 44T
Passenger capacity 1.800
Trailer & Car capacity 2.300 lanemeters
Route Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo
Roundtrip time 48 hours
Bunkering interval 48 hours
CO2e/year emission avoidance 64.000 Tons





Hydrogen tanks top left

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.

Successful launch of new ro-pax for the Baltics

Friday the 13th is considered a unlucky day in Western superstition. Fortunately this is not the case in China. So despite of the date we were confident that the launch of our second ro-pax newbuilding for the Baltics at the Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) would be a success story.

The launching ceremony took place at 10:30AM local time in China under a beautiful blue sky with participation from our good site team as can be seen from the pictures.

“Leading to the launching, thew site team was very busy getting everything in place and assist the yard in ensuring a good level of quality for the last below-waterline welding seams, hull surface protection jobs and painting of the ballast and void tanks,” says  Jacob Johannesen, Deputy project Manager.

“The hull will now be towed to the outfitting pier and GSI shipyard will be working in parallel on both ships where machinery and onboard systems will be finalized, cabins put onboard and public spaces built.”

DFDS ordered the two combined freight and passenger ferries for our Baltic route network in  2018. They are  230 metres long and will each have a capacity of 4,500 lane metres for trucks and cars, and with their 250 passenger cabins and large, comfortable public areas, the ships will offer a new state-of-the-art travel experience for passengers crossing the Baltic Sea.

The Channel is ready for Brexit

“We now know that we can move goods from the UK into the continent, end to end from Dover to Calais. This week’s internal test of all Channel processes, signage and infrastructure proved that we have all the necessary systems in place, and we know how to operate them,” says Vice President and Head of DFDS’ BU Channel Filip Hermann.“ 

Practicing, step by step 

At the check-in booth in the UK portwe scan customer documents and share these digitally with the French customs authorities. 

When the French customs authorities notice trucks that require a customs check upon entering France– for instance ones carrying phytosanitary sanitary goods like live animals, plants and animal products – these trucks get an orange dot in our system. On board, we show a list of the trucks customs status: 

If the trucks get a green dot, no checks are needed 

Trucks with orange dots need to follow the signage to parking lots when they leave the vessel, where their documents and goods are checked. 

It works and it has to 

The test showed that if customers have their documents in order, and their goods aren’t phytosanitary, things shouldn’t take much longer than they do todayWe have put immense efforts into getting every step of this new process tried and tested. Every week, around 30,000 freight units cross the Channel with us, and a vessel’s delay can clog up the entire system and create negative ripple effects for the DFDS staff and customers alike,” Filip says.  

I can assure our customers and staff that DFDS is ready. It’s important for customers to know that ithey don’t have their papers in order, we quite simply can’t ship for them. But if they need help with Customs, we can assist with that,” Filip says. 

Counting down 

Personally, I’d like to thank everyone involved in this final testing, Filip says. One team cannot do this alone. The test succeeded because of the wellorchestrated collaboration between all parties. So many parts of DFDS deserve credit for making our new processes on the Channel work and I’m impressed with how my colleagues deal with all the challenges thrown at them – not just related to Brexit, but also Covid-19. It’s true that when we see a problem in DFDS, we fix it, and this testing and the strong process we now have in place just goes to prove that.” 


Thank you, Eastern Channel test team: 

IT in Copenhagen, Dover and Immingham: 

  • Attila Gulyas 
  • Alex Hoyle 
  • Bent Christensen 
  • Billy Burman 
  • Daniel Capes 
  • Liam Richardson 

DFDS in Dover: 

  • Gary Whitling 
  • Helene Hivart 
  • Bradley Ellison 
  • Laura Charlton 
  • Louis Stroud 
  • Adam McCarthy 

Onboard crew 

  • Crew of Cote de Flanders  

DFDS in France: 

  • Hubert Saussereau 
  • Stephanie Thomas 
  • Clarisse Castel 
  • Caroline Hayat 
  • Melanie Marchand
  • Bertrand Demester
  • Vanessa Pereira
  • Catherine Vandevyvere

Go to DFDS pages on Brexit 



Q3 results: Better than originally expected

We just published DFDS results for the third quarter.

Operating profit was DKK 846 million, which is DKK 349 million less than last year’s third quarter operating profit. The reduction is mainly due to our passenger business being severely hit by COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, the result is better than originally expected, as the freight businesses of both Ferry and Logistics were above last year’s Q3 results.

Torben says: “Our freight network is as expected proving to be very resilient. We continue to adapt operations to market changes and Brexit. I am pleased to see that all the hard work of our people has helped position us well for the future.”

Link to Q3 announcement.

NorthSea Terminal in new cooperation with shipping company MSC

NorthSea terminal in Brevik, Norway.

After long negotiations with shipping company MSC, it is a pleasure to announce that from 11 November the NorthSea terminal in Brevik will deliver port service to MSC’s container shipping service in the Oslofjord.

Thorbjørn Aasig Lund, Managing Director in Brevik, says: “We are looking forward to the collaboration with MSC where we are responsible for the handling of containers. It is fantastic to see the recent growth in Brevik. Within 14 days, we went from two weekly calls to Rotterdamn to also include Hamburg, Breverhaven and now Antwerp with this new cooperation”

With the addition of Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Antwerp, we expect to double our current volumes by 2021 and handle around 60,000 containers. This is a good start to meet our strategic goal of handling around 100,000 containers by 2023. The growth into 2021 will make us Norway’s second largest container terminal, after we have been the 10th largest container terminal for many years.”

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! 

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. 


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.”

DFDS establishes staffing company in Gothenburg

The DFDS Win23 strategy is based on the development of business areas that require a wide set of specific skills and expertise, and our success will depend on our ability to ensure that people with the skills, expertise and knowledge are available where and when needed.

This is nowhere more so than Gothenburg, where DFDS employs a total of 900 colleagues and operates six companies that each require special experience, skills and flexibility to adapt to quickly changing market demands.

During 2019, a local One DFDS project was started with the Extended Management Team for Sweden. The ambition was to find synergies through closer collaboration between the Swedish companies. One of the working groups focused on staffing and suggested that DFDS establishes a staffing and recruitment company in Gothenburg. In January, they presented it to the Executive Management Team.

“It is fantastic that what we in the working group put together now becomes reality. I think that collaboration across departments made the difference in this group and for DFDS in total. We have so many synergies that we can take advantage of, and this is the first step,” says David Wallgren, Manager Operation Shipping Logistics.

DFDS Professionals AB in Gothenburg will hire and recruit people with the expertise and experience needed in our industry, and ensure that all our ferry, logistics and terminal companies can draw on these resources when they need them.

“This will give us a flexibility that will distinguish us as a service company. Our customers can rely on us at all times. When business is requiring new skills to use new technologies in the best possible way for the benefit of our customers, we will have the people to do it. And when workload and volumes change quickly or dramatically (such as during the coronavirus pandemic), we will have the flexibility to adapt our workforce much more quickly than today, when we depend on external providers,” says Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of the Logistics Division.

“At DFDS Professionals AB, they will know exactly what kind of people DFDS needs to ensure our growth in the future and maintain our reputation as a highly professional and reliable company. And with its cross-company operation, DFDS Professionals will lead to even more career opportunities across our companies.”

Niklas will be Chair of the new company, Karolina Landin, HR Director Nordics & Baltics, and Allan Toft Bertelsen, Division CFO, will be a board member.

The new company will be managed by Frederik Karlström, who will join DFDS on 2 November. Frederik has a long background within the recruitment industry as well as the experience of starting and built new companies.

Vlaardingen welcomes Flandria

A very welcome sight: the arrival of our fifth mega freight ferry, Flandria Seaways, which aroused strong feelings amongst both the crew and colleagues in Vlaardingen.

Following a successful maiden voyage, Captain Joakim Dahlberg and crew finally stepped ashore on European ground after a very prolonged stay in China that exceeded 100 days, most of which was spent in a Chinese hotel.

Our colleagues in Vlaardingen were ready to welcome the crew and to show their appreciation for this great feat of endurance and patience, and Torben Carlsen acknowledged this personally with a video greeting, a personal letter and a present, handed to the crew by Jacob Andersen, Managing Director in Vlaardingen.

Jacob says: “I am really proud to be able to welcome the fifth mega freight ferry, the second one to come to Vlaardingen, even though she will soon be leaving for her future service on the Gothenburg – Zeebrugge route. I also want to thank the crew for bringing her home, and I am certain that she will secure a competitive advantage and bring a major contribution to our customers’ growth.”

Torben’s video greeting to the crew of Flandria Seaways:

The crew reading the letter and watching the video greeting from Torben Carlsen:

New contract with Danish Crown

Torben Carlsen and Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown, sign the agreement that extends DFDS’ and Danish Crown’s cooperation on the transport of meat from Esbjerg to Immingham until mid-2023.


DFDS’ sailings from Denmark to the UK are as old as the Danish supply of bacon for the infamous full English breakfast. Now we are certain that the export of bacon to the UK will continue out of Esbjerg for at least another 2.5 years.

Yesterday, Torben Carlsen and Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown, signed the agreement on this at Danish Crown’s head office in Randers, Jutland. Torben was accompanied by  Peder Gellert, EVP of the Ferry Division, and Kell Robdrup,  SVP of BU North Sea South, who had negotiated the contract details.

“It was a very good day for DFDS. The meat export is a considerable part of our volumes on the Esbjerg-Immingham route and we are quite proud of being part of one of Denmark’s oldest export successes,” says Kell.

Due to the long standing and close cooperation with Danish Crown, it has also been agreed that DFDS will support Danish Crown with import customs services after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Vlaardingen Terminal to be extended

Visualisation of the new terminal layout.

Like with everything else, the pandemic put the extension of our terminal in Vlaardingen on hold. However, with the recent approval to continue from the Executive Management Team and starting the final rounds of the tender process last weekthis major project is finally gaining some tailwind once again. 

When planning approval is passedconstruction is expected to start in December or early January. With an efficient new layout with more capacity, a new gate system and many other improvements, customers and colleagues can look forward to a massive improvement that will drive and grow our businesthroughout Europe for many years to come. 

New terminal layout
The expansion by 9.4 hectares of land for the parking of an additional 450 trailers will create great conditions to accommodate the two mega freight ferries that will operate between Vlaardingen and Immingham.  

Ralph Bosveld, Terminal Operations Director, says: “One of the initiatives that I am excited about is the new fishbone layout in the parking area to enable forward parking instead of the current setup where reverse parking is required. This will increase overall speed of operationwhile being safer too.

Visualisation of new fishbone layout in the parking area

The existing railway line connected to the terminal will be renovated and extended onto the new site, enabling rail transport. A big warehouse will be placed close to the rail connection to accommodate shipping logistics activities.  

Visualisation of the new warehouse to accommodate shipping logistics activities

We very much look forward to further collaboration with BU Industries & Client Engagement as I am certain that we will attract a lot of new business with the extra capacity,” says Ralph. 

New gate system 
The existing gate system with three gates in and two gates out will be completely renewed with a total of five gates in and four gates out. This will enable the terminal to cope with the high volumes from the two mega freight ferries, while eliminating any congestion issue 

The current gate system tends to cause bottlenecks and a lot of traffic on the surrounding roads. To avoid this, two of the exit gates will be placed at the north end, leading about half of the outgoing traffic in a different direction than it moves today. The new terminal layout will also have a waiting area that can accommodate up to 35 trucks without causing any queues.

New gate system to cope with the high volumes from the two mega freight ferries, while eliminating any congestion issue

A more environmentally friendly terminal 
The terminal is not only becoming bigger and more efficient but also more environmentally friendlyRalph says: In early 2022, we will install solar panels on the terminal buildings and we are continuously looking into the possibilities for electric vehicles like forklifts and company cars. When the expansion is done, we will have plug-in points for electric cars and a further 20 for reefer trailers to keep the loads at constant temperatures, and so they don’t have truon diesel. This will significantly reduce noise and harmful emissions. 

New shipping line in Vlaardingen

MS Akranes that will arrive at Vlaardingen every Sunday.

Even though things are tough right now, opportunities to grow and collaborate still arise all over DFDS. This time, a new cooperation between DFDS and the shipping company, Smyril Line, was a welcoming addition to the business in Vlaardingen.

Jorik van Oosterom, Terminal Operations Manager, says: “From now on, every Sunday, Smyril Line’s freight ferry, MS Akranes, will arrive at Vlaardingen where we will handle the discharging and loading of trailers, containers and machinery. It will then departure back to Norway the following Monday where it will call the Norwegian ports in Stavanger, Trondheim, Rørvik and Hitra.“

“It is great to see that we are able to attract additional volumes during the pandemic and Brexit. The route is mainly transporting fresh fish, however, together with our Logistics colleagues in Vlaardingen and Norway, we will do our best to push volumes of all kinds on this route to grow further. To support the DFDS network, we have also delayed the departure to Felixstowe from Vlaardingen with one hour to offer customers a connection from Norway to the UK.”

Robert Pieren, Area Manager at Smyril Line, says: “Our Norwegian service vessel ms Akranes has been handled and served really well just as expected of a professional and well-structured terminal.

“A short and straight forward meeting with Jorik van Oosterom and Ritchie Keemink made our corporation running smoothly as from day one. Thanks to all DFDS staff involved handling our vessel and cargo during its calls at the DFDS terminal in Vlaardingen.”

New DFDS Express service


Compressed Natural Gas-fuelled van in Belgium delivers within 30 minutes and emits 10% less CO2 at lower operational cost.

DFDS Belgium is seeing increasing customer demand for faster delivery of small shipments from our warehouses to their sites. That is why we have introduced a new DFDS Express service.


Express van deliveries using CNG trucks

We try to find more environmentally friendly solutions wherever we can, throughout DFDS. In Belgium, we now use a Compressed Natural Gas-fuelled van as a delivery vehicle. This van emits 10% less CO2 than your average diesel combustion engines – at a lower operational cost.


First express delivery to Volvo cars in Ghent

The CNG truck got to work last week, when we delivered a pallet to Volvo in Ghent 20 minutes after we received the order.

“We saw that customers needed immediate help when their production was disrupted or they were missing a spare part,” says  Managing Director of DFDS Logistics NV Luc Geysen. “In this situation, it doesn’t make sense for us to send a trailer, so we came up with the idea of introducing an energy-efficient truck. DFDS Express is a great add-on to our product offering for existing customers and they really appreciate it.”

DFDS develops ambitious climate plan

We want to become climate neutral by 2050 and are aiming for a relative reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by close to 45% from 2008 to 2030. That corresponds to an approximate reduction of 25-35% between 2019 and 2030. These are the main goals in DFDS’ new climate action plan.


In 2019, DFDS emitted ~2 million tons of CO2. 90% was from our vessels. Continuing to do so would have a negative impact on the environment and climate. It would also put us at significant economic risk: customers will find more climate-friendly suppliers and the costs related to regulatory requirements will increase.


DFDS’ response to this is a new strategic climate action plan that will make us climate neutral by 2050. We are aiming for a relative reduction of GHG emissions by close to 45% from 2008 to 2030. That corresponds to an approximate reduction of 25-35% between 2019 and 2030.


Team members from the Technical Organisation, Innovation & Partnerships, CSR, and Strategy & Consulting have supported management in the development of this plan, and the Executive Management Team will track its development on a quarterly basis.


Three tracks leading to the finish line
The  plan consists of two overall tracks covering the tonnage adaption in short term and long term, as well as a third track ‘getting the house in order’ that covers all other things like facilities and terminal equipment.


The short-term tonnage adaption plan consists of initiatives to be implemented throughout the next 10 years, resulting in close to 45% reduction from 2008 to 2030. It widely consists of minor technical upgrades, including solutions like the use of the correct coatings on vessel hulls and decision support systems. But the fleet will also undergo major upgrades, like modifications of bulbs and propellers.

The long-term tonnage adaption plan is all about how we replace fossil fuels with the new generation of zero emission fuel. The new sustainable fuels are renewable energy stored in the form of for instance ammonia, hydrogen, or methanol. Storing, handling and using these new fuels is very different to how we do things today. We need to learn a lot to be able to make the right strategic decisions. Projects and partnerships will help us learn and share knowledge and reach our goals. The long-term tonnage adaption plan focuses on our new generation of ships.


Getting the house in order addresses the remaining 10% of our total emissions. In short, emissions that don’t come from our vessel-related activities. Initiatives like electric trucks, energy consumption for buildings and hybrid/electric company cars will engage all our colleagues across the business in helping DFDS develop ways of becoming more sustainable. Many of these initiatives are done in cooperation with key suppliers to reduce environmental impact.


DFDS CEO Torben Carlsen says: “I am very happy that we now have this ambitious and comprehensive climate action plan in place. It clearly states how we can and will take responsibility for the environment. It will also help us stay relevant as a service provider in 10, 15, 50 years from now. With the support of every one of our employees, we will be able to turn this plan into reality and at the same time continue our existing efforts to support the environment and local communities.”


More on this in the coming weeks

Safety First: Local programs take off

Too many serious accidents took safety to the very top of the agenda at DFDS, and despite the coronavirus situation, the Safety First program was launched in April.

Campaign posters, online meetings, a safety booklet and a safety survey were among the many initiatives, and now local programs are being kicked-off.

Images from local kick-offs on vessels, terminals and warehouses have been sent to the Safety First inbox, and we have gathered all the great images in a short video.

“You will probably notice how the King Seaways crew were touched by a presentation that Captain Ingimar Tór Thomsen held about the incident on the vessel Seatruck Progress. Two of the King Seaways crew members knew the officer involved in the tragic accident,” says Michael Stig.

Next steps

Jesper Hartvig Nielsen says: “We have now completed the safety reporting tool which keeps track of accidents for shore side. The safety reporting tool for the ship side was already in place.”

“More initiatives will be launched from our side. The results from the safety surveys are still being processed, and we hope to have all done and ready shortly, so we can move forward with the findings from the surveys. Once again a big thank you to all of you who took the time to participate in the survey.”

“We would also like to thank all the local managements and staff for their high commitment in the program. Without their big help and involvement we cannot succeed. And as always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions, input or ideas,” Michael adds.

You can contact the Safety First program team on