Ghent wins award for growing business

Some of the 55 colleagues from DFDS Ghent Logistics presenting the award

A strong relationship with Volvo, the Volvo V60 contract, and a focus on managing customers’ logistics activities and entire supply chain are some of the factors that contributed to DFDS Logistics Ghent’s award for ‘strongest growing business’ in the category ‘large organisations’. The award was given by business magazine ‘Trends’ last Friday.

Luc Geysen, Managing Director in Ghent for Logistics, says: “Congratulations on this recognition and thank you to the Ghent team. In the Ghent Logistics office, about 55 colleagues manage, among other services, the trailer business from Benelux/France to and from Scandinavia, and warehousing activities. We are active throughout many industries, but mainly carry raw material for production sites in the trailers.

“We also focus on warehousing and being a fourth party logistics provider in the Ghent Port area for different types of customers such as automotive, steel, packaging, and working through the industry pillar of our Win23 strategy.”

The award for the ‘strongest growing business’ in the ‘ large organisations’ category.

DFDS partners with Global & Local Enterprises

DFDS Logistics in Ghent has decided to outsource its repair and maintenance workshop to Global & Local Enterprises (GLE Group), who manages a chain of workshops with well-trained mechanics and supervisors. They will now handle the repairing and maintenance of our trucks and trailers.

Joop Roijakkers, Chairman of Global & Local Enterprises, says: “Thank you to Luc Geysen for making this long-term partnership happen in an efficient and timely manner. The workshops are our first strategic priority. Our goal is to expand and have our operations close to major European transport hubs. I am very happy to further execute on our outsourcing concept, this time at the Ghent harbour in Belgium with DFDS”.

DFDS trailers in Ghent will now be repaired and maintained in the workshop run by DFDS partners with Global & Local Enterprises.

Luc Geysen, Managing Director, DFDS Logistics Belgium, says: “We were looking for a reliable partner to run our workshop and decided to use their experience, skills and focus to create a win-win solution for both partners.”

We will now focus on the development of our 4PL asset-based solution, where we offer customers to undertake overall responsibility of their logistics activities and entire supply chain by managing the people, process and technology. With our extensive network consisting of rail and road services, terminals, vessels, and hub, together with a strong IT-backbone, we are able to offer custom made solutions to selected industries.”

New office in Ghent is well underway

When our 135 colleagues in Ghent move into their brand-new office in the end of 2020, they can look forward to working in a modern building with plenty of space and great working conditions.

The new office is located at the terminal, so our Belgian colleagues have followed the construction closely since the start in January 2020. Jowita Dziedzic, Inside Sales Representative, has kindly shared pictures of the construction that you can see below.

Raf De Wit, Terminal Director in Ghent, says: “Today on 29 May, the construction crew just finished the facade, and roof work. They will now begin with the plumbing and electrical installations as well as sewerage work, heating and ventilation installation, immediately followed by screeding and establishing of interior walls.

“The exterior joinery such as installation of windows and doors is planned to start in mid -July to mid-August. After that they will work on the floors, locker room, kitchen furnishings, lighting, fitted wardrobes and painting among others.”

Raf continues: “We expect to finish the ground floor by the end of October, then we will gradually work our way up finishing floor by floor. The target to be ready with the finished meeting room on third floor is certainly a feasible option by the end of December.”

Photo taken 14 February 2020.


Ground floor that will consist of the reception/gate teams, waiting room, kitchen and wardrobes for stevedores.


First floor will have workplaces for the Managing Director, sales team, Customer Service, Finance, Claims and managers.


Second floor will have terminal operations and Shipping Logistics.


Third floor will have two terraces and a large meeting room.


Beautiful view over the terminal from the third floor.

Hollandia Seaways in Zeebrugge

As from today, Hollandia Seaways will be sailing between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge.

Our 6700 lane metres large mega freight ferry that can carry 450 trailers, had its very first call to Port of Zeebrugge today

The schedule is set on two departures to Zeebrugge per week with an approx. transit time of 35 hours.

We wish good luck to our colleagues from PSA Zeebrugge with having Hollandia at their terminal.

Horns and sirens near the North Sea Port

At the North Sea Port in Ghent, horns and sirens sounded at 12 CET to show support to the people who do an exceptional job to ensure that we can overcome the challenges during this crisis.

As you can see in the video, ships, trucks and cars together with the local community joined the gesture. Naturally, Hollandia Seaways and crew also showed their support by sounding the horn in front of the port.    

Students visit DFDS in Ghent

Early November, the students of the Master of Science in Maritime Science at the University of Ghent visited the terminal run by DFDS Belgium in North Sea Port Flanders and toured the ‘Primula Seaways’ getting ready to sail back to Göteborg. Prior to that managing director Sam De Wilde gave the students a thorough presentation of the group and of the drivers and dynamics in ro/ro shipping, terminal operations and intermodal activities.

Field trips to ports and port-related companies like DFDS are an integral part of the course the students in the Master in Maritime Science are following. “They allow the students to explore the world of maritime transportation in a very direct way and to give the theoretical knowledge they acquire a practical dimension. Not everyone of them ever stood on a maritime terminal or on the bridge or in the engine room of a seagoing vessel”, explains Jean-Louis Vandevoorde, assistant at the University of Ghent. “Our call to DFDS, the main ro/ro operator and most frequent customer of the port of Ghent, is a yearly must and adds an essential link to the chain of our visits.”

The Master of Science in Maritime Science is an inter-university programme developed by Ghent University (UGent) and the University of Brussels (VUB). The programme comprises three main pillars: a technical/general pillar, an economic/logistic pillar and a legal pillar, and follows the multidisciplinary approach which makes it quite unique in the global academic landscape.

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.

New MD in Ghent, New in DFDS

When we announced the new organisation on 25 June, we also reported that Luc Geysen would be new MD in Ghent. And when Luc entered his office for the first time already on Monday 1 July, we could at the same time welcome him to DFDS.

He has a huge experience with the logistics and supply chain business which he joined in 1996 in the company Henkel-Ecolab, and which also became his passion. “I find the logistics sector extremely interesting for its complexity and fast development as regards its business models and digital developments, and as it involves working with people as well as processes,” says Luc who is now getting  acquainted with the business and his more than 120 staff in Ghent.

Luc, who is 46 years old and a Belgian National, spent the last 12 years on major logistics projects, most recently for companies like DHL and Kuehne & Nagel. He came to DFDS from Kuehne & Nagel where he was an interim manager responsible for the sale of its FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) transport business in the Netherlands.

“Luc has exactly the qualities we need to grow our business in Ghent. In his projects he has shown impressive results with increasing efficiency of logistics processes, putting customers first and making organisations work towards the same strategic goals. His focus is on finding solutions for our customers, and I look forward to seeing Luc and his staff turning new opportunities into growth initiatives for our Ghent operation,” says Niklas Andersson, new EVP of the Logistics Division.

“I know that our skilled and committed staff in Ghent will support Luc in getting g a good start in his new position. Please join me in giving him a warm welcome to DFDS,” says Niklas who also thanks MD Geert Liefhooghe for having built a strong business in Ghent. With the change of organisation, Geert became part of the cold chain business with the office in Brügge.

Luc will report to Michael Bech, our new VP of BU Continent.

Luc lives in Antwerp with his family and will be looking for a place to live in Ghent.

DFDS takes over GWM, provider of stevedoring in Ghent

DFDS has taken over GWM, the company providing operations, gate and tallying services for DFDS in Ghent. “We have been working with them for many years as they were already operating at the Mercatordok Multimodal Terminal for Volvo Group Logistics before DFDS took over the terminal,” says Sam De Wilde, Managing Director at DFDS Seaways NV.

Their history in Ghent goes back to 1890 when the municipality granted all rights for the weighing and measuring in the Port of Ghent to the ‘Municipal Sworn Weighers and Measurers’ – or in Dutch: Gezworen Wegers en Meters (GWM).

Whereas the original activity was mostly about weight and quantity estimations, their range of activities has grown significantly over the last 129 years. Today the 29 staff offer surveys (draught, barge, on/offhire, bunker- and hold conditions), tallying, supervision and operations (vessel operations, gate operations, damage reporting, inspections) as well as measuring, (sampling, temperature control, density checks ..).

Raf De Wit continues as Terminal Director
For DFDS, the main activity has been vessel operations, gate operations and tallying. Raf de Wit, the owner of the company, has been heading the operations at Mercatordok Multimodal Terminal for DFDS for many years, and now he officially becomes Terminal Director for Ghent for DFDS. He continues to report to Sam De Wilde.

Strategic fit
“GWM is a great fit for DFDS as we have worked well together for many years, and they already handle many of our activities. Additionally, we see a further growth potential in the other services offered to third party customers. It increases the broad range of services already offered by DFDS in Belgium and enables us to offer any service requested by our end customers ourselves,” says Sam De Wilde. “I welcome all the new colleagues to DFDS and look forward to working with them.”

Raf de Wit, previous owner of GWM, will continue as Terminal Director reporting to Sam de Wilde

Customs brokerage in Belgium: Now also AEO certified

“As a fully AEO-certified company, DFDS is regarded as a trusted and secure partner by the customs authorities,” says Sam De Wilde, Managing Director of DFDS Seaways NV. Photo of Ghent-Terneuzen canal by Tom D’haenens.


As we wrote previously, DFDS has launched customs clearance services in Belgium. After several intense months of hard work, all the necessary authorisations have been obtained. In the meantime, DFDS Belgium has also become accredited as an AEO (Authorised Economic Operator). As a fully AEO-certified company, DFDS is regarded as a trusted and secure partner by the customs authorities. In obtaining this certification, DFDS has demonstrated operational excellence and compliance with regulations.

Sam De Wilde, Managing Director of DFDS Seaways NV, says: “Special thanks should go to Ms Gislene Alves, who has worked hard to get all this in place to a very high standard.”

Adding customs brokerage to the range of services offered means that DFDS will be able to offer a complete, more integrated service to its customers. Furthermore, this expansion of services ensures that DFDS will be fully Brexit-proof. By becoming a one-stop shop for maritime, road, rail and barge transport, combined with customs brokerage services, DFDS is able to decrease lead times and overall logistics-related costs.

DFDS takes part in Global Seafood Exhibition

Many customers and partners took the opportunity to visit the DFDS stand during the exhibition

Earlier this month, DFDS took part in the annual Global Seafood Exhibition in Brussels. It is the world’s largest seafood trade event for buyers, suppliers and processing-industry professionals. Attendees from no less than 140 countries participated in the event.

DFDS Scotland is a well-known exhibitor at the event, personified by Robert Murdoch, Managing Director in Larkhall. Robert is retiring this year, so for the DFDS team, and especially for Robert, this year’s exhibition was particularly important.

Robert Murdoch, Managing Director in Larkhall

Robert says: “The event is a very useful opportunity to meet and discuss current business and new business opportunities, as the majority of our customers in the industry are attending the exhibition.

This year, in anticipation of the impact of Brexit on the seafood business, DFDS’ extended Brexit team was also present to help and advise attendees at the exhibition on how to deal with the implications of different Brexit scenarios.

The event was a great success and I want to warmly thank everyone at DFDS who either participated at the event or who helped with the preparations.”



DFDS enters long term agreement with Stora Enso and opens new route

DFDS to transport 700,000 tons of paper annually for paper producer Stora Enso on a new route between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge. DFDS will acquire two freight ferries for the service. The contract runs for a minimum of five years. DFDS will increase weekly departures between Sweden and Belgium from 8 to 12.

DFDS and Stora Enso have today entered into a 5-year agreement to annually carry around 700,000 tons of paper and board products between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge. Stora Enso has options to extend the agreement with three years.

Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper. Stora Enso has annual sales of
EUR 10.5bn and 26,000 employees.

“We are very pleased to expand our cooperation with Stora Enso and look forward to supporting their growth through an efficient and flexible route operation. We likewise look forward to offer the transport market additional capacity and services between Sweden and Belgium”, says Peder Gellert Pedersen, Executive Vice President, DFDS Group, and Head of Ferry Division.

To accommodate the volumes of the agreement, DFDS will open a route between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge which is extending the service frequency between Sweden and Belgium from 8 to 12 weekly departures.

The new route will be operated by three freight ferries. Two freight ferries — Slingeborg and Schieborg — will be acquired from third party owners for DKK 270m, and one will be transferred from the Gothenburg-Ghent route, that currently deploys four freight ferries..

The route is expected to open Mid-June

DFDS Seaways NV starts customs brokerage in Belgium

DFDS is now offering customs clearance as a service to customers in Belgium, and several customers have already shown an interest in buying this service from us, as it increases their ease of doing business. Photography – Tom D’haenens.


DFDS Seaways completed its first sales of customs declarations in Belgium. Gislene Alves, who only joined DFDS in October, has been very busy over the last few months with an application for certification as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and getting all necessary authorisations and guarantees for selling customs services. This was completed in record time, and last week the first sales for these services were completed and we started showing some revenue. Gislene says: “We had a thorough review and quality approval from Belgian Customs authorities, and it took some time to get all authorisations and systems in place so it was nice to finally launch the service to our customers. Within the next few weeks we should also obtain the AEO certification for DFDS Seaways NV, which again will simplify procedures for us.”

Sam de Wilde, Managing Director of DFDS Seaways NV, adds: “I would like to congratulate Gislene for all her efforts and also the group taxation department for assisting us in obtaining the authorisations and for the AEO application. The treasury department was also very responsive in providing the necessary guarantees. We have undertaken this project not only to prepare for Brexit but also to further raise the reputation and profile of our Belgian shipping activities. The first sales were for an existing multimodal customer, but we are confident we will be supplying these services for other customers, including other DFDS companies, in the near future. Several customers have already shown an interest in buying this service from us, as it increases their ease of doing business.”

One sales cooperation for the Belgium – Sweden corridor

The Belgian-Swedish Ferry and Logistics teams met in Gothenburg to introduce One Sales initiatives for the Belgium-Sweden transport corridor

DFDS aims to improve sales through the so-called One Sales concept, in which colleagues from the Ferry Division and Logistics Division team up to improve and gain new business through a joint approach. “By doing it together, and visiting customers where this approach is relevant together, there will only be one point of contact with a customer, and we can reap the benefits of our combined experiences, capabilities and knowledge about industries and markets. We can even suggest solutions that are automatically coordinated as they include both ferry and logistics services,” says David Forsberg, Sales Director of the Ferry Division in Gothenburg.

Geert Liefhooghe, Managing Director of the Logistics Division in Belgium, says: “We already had some One Sales meetings between divisions in Belgium to combine our forces, define our approach to One Sales and to set up a model and a One Sales presentation that we could use for joint customer visits.

“In March during a visit to the Logistics office in Gothenburg, together with Lars Eriksson – Sales Manager of the Logistics Division in Sweden – we concluded that it would be worthwhile joining up with the Swedish and Belgian Ferry and Logistics organisations. The Swedish organisation were the first to roll out the One Sales concept – to see how we can help each other to become more successful in the Belgium – Sweden transport corridor and extend One Sales cooperation across borders. We decided to set up an SOP with a clear account team according to the expectations of the customers and the conditions for customer selection,” he says.

Primula Seaways – no grounding, no damage

No grounding and no damage – Primula Seaways could continue sailing shortly after the concern arose


On Friday 22 February Primula Seaways came to a stop at Terneuzen in the Ghent – Therneuzen Canal en route to Ghent. There was a suspicion of possible hull damage to the ferry after having had a small taste of the mud in the canal when entering the breakwaters of Terneuzen in dense fog.

When such suspicions occur, the authorities will always be involved, and unfortunately this led to the misunderstanding in the media that there had been a grounding and damage to the ship and that it had required the assistance of a tug.

However, there was no grounding and no damage to the ship. This was confirmed by an investigation carried out by a diver who found no damage to the hull. Primula Seaways was soon able to continue her journey towards Ghent with no assistance needed.

New rail freight service between Turkey and Belgium

The first intermodal rail freight train from Genk arrives in Trieste

DFDS can now offer its customers an intermodal freight route between Turkey and Belgium and the first intermodal rail freight train from Genk arrived in Trieste on 20 January. The new route, between Genk and Trieste, will allow customers to better utilise the DFDS network, broadening the range of choices for connections between Turkey and northern Europe.

Taking a mere 28 hours between Genk and Trieste and adding (at full capacity) three weekly round trips of about 34 slots per train, this train is a welcome addition to the DFDS Trieste terminal as its intermodal terminal capacity is in great demand.

“This is another result of our efforts in the continued development of our intermodal cargo capabilities,” says Nicola Lelli, Head of Intermodal, adding that new routes are becoming available to allow for more efficient transport and thereby making inland transportation faster and more environmentally sustainable.

DFDS partnered with the European operators Lineas, LTE and InRail to make this new intermodal service available for our customers, with the main part of the slots taken over by H.Essers, a valued customer of DFDS.

Logistics in Ghent launches project to boost results

Results for Logistics Belgium (Ghent) have not developed to their liking in 2018, due to competitive pressures and factors that were sometimes beyond their control. especially rising oil prices which cause increasing costs for road transport and surcharges for sea transport.

“We cannot control those extra costs, but we can certainly do something to mitigate the effects and improve our results. In cooperation with the Strategy & Consultancy department, we initiated Project Boost shortly before Christmas to increase sales and efficiency through a number of initiatives Involving the team in Ghent,” says Geert Liefhooghe, MD of DFDS Logistics Division in Belgium.

Growing the top line
“We have been analysing the current business in relation to our customer base and have identified new opportunities for increasing sales to current customers. In addition to this, we have listed companies who would benefit from becoming our customers and gaining access to our networks. We are in the final stage of closing a big volume tender in the right areas of our transport,” he says.

Cost recovery
“A major initiative that we are working on is mitigating the effects of increasing fuel costs and fuel surcharges for ferry transportation to and from Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK. The surcharges are adjusted monthly, and if prices go up quickly, the costs may not be fully covered by our customers. We have now implemented an improved rate structure that follows the fluctuations in fuel costs and fuel charges more closely.”

More efficient use of trailers
“We have a big focus on reducing empty running. We found our main imbalances to areas to be in France, and optimised our sales forces to find adequate return loads or repositioning loads to reduce empty kilometres. We have already had some success, but we still have a way to go to close the gaps. Another key focus is reducing the turnaround time of our trailers. We have set ourselves clear targets to reduce the average number of days per trip, as this will enable us to do more business using the same equipment. This means we can save costs, be more competitive and grow our business, ” says Lieven Baete, General Manager, Logistics in Ghent

“These are just some of the main initiatives. However, I think this provides a good understanding of how we look at all parameters in order to become more efficient and increase our results. Thanks to everyone in our Logistics team in Ghent and the Strategy & Consulting team for their huge commitment and support to ensure that we will be a more profitable business in 2019 than we were in 2018,” says Geert Liefhooghe.

A steering group consisting of Eddie Green; Niklas Andersson; Geert Liefhooghe; Lieven Baete; Filip Hermann and Christina Mørup is following the project closely.

DFDS to change its freight shipping arrangement in Norway from 2019

DFDS has decided to expand and improve its route between Norway, Zeebrugge and Immingham. Currently, the route is served by the side port/container vessel Lysbris Seaways, which mainly carries paper from Norske Skog, and containers with various types of cargo.

The improved route will be served by a larger ro-ro vessel, Finlandia Seaways. This means that, in addition to containers and paper, DFDS will be able to offer sea transport for ro-ro cargo such as trailers, self-drives, machinery and a wider variety of project cargo between the hubs.

DFDS will add Brevik to the port rotation, in addition to the current ports of Fredrikstad and Halden. This means that DFDS will be able to offer quick transport solutions from the continent and the UK to both the east and west shores of Oslofjord. With late-week departures from Zeebrugge and Immingham, and early-week arrivals in Norway, DFDS will offer the market a unique solution for all kinds of goods along the transport corridors.

This service will replace the current ro-ro connection between Ghent and Brevik from the middle of February 2019. This will improve the current schedule from Brevik, with both an import and export call. The reduced transit time southbound will open the way for the export of fresh fish from Norway to the Continent.

Customer service and sales contacts will remain unchanged.

The schedule for Finlandia Seaways will be as follows:


Students visit Ghent terminal

Students from the universities of Ghent and Brussels visited Port of Ghent this week to learn about transportation and terminal operations

Giving students direct insight into the workings of an industry, as a complement to their theoretical studies, is a great way of combining knowledge and experience. So, students from the MSc course in Maritime Science from Ghent University and the University of Brussels visited Port of Ghent this week.

“This is a great way of showing the students our activities and letting them visit one of the ships, which allows them to get a real feel for ro-ro transportation and terminal operations. We always enjoy showing the terminal to visitors, as it gives us a chance to explain what we do at DFDS, and the value we add to our customers by combining different modes of transportation. An additional benefit, of course, is making DFDS better known and more attractive to potential future employees. Special thanks to the DFDS employees who made this visit a success: Jelle Van Koevorden (Business Development), Julie Stuer (Route & Container Barge Operations) and Alain De Brauwer (Route Operations),” says Managing Director for Shipping Belgium, Sam De Wilde.