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Rediscover Freedom Campaign for Passenger Travel

Now the first countries in Europe are discussing opening their borders for international travel again, passenger marketing launched the Rediscover Freedom Campaign last week in the UK, Continent & Nordics, a first of its kind in the ferry industry.  

Rediscover Freedom is a phased campaign and this first phase is all about reassuring our leisure ferry travellers that we have prepared and that we are ready to welcome them back on board for a relaxing holiday as soon as we are able.

It is targeted at our own customers in the ferry market but also customers of other forms of transport and highlights the unique selling propositions of ferry travel including space, fresh air and the destinations we sail to all of which can offer social distanced holidays.

Another important aspect of the campaign are the safety measures that have been introduced onboard which are being shared with our travellers in a clear and concise way to reassure them that ferry travel is a viable option to get away.

Pete Akerman, Passenger Marketing Director commented: “We have been busy communicating with our customers regarding the travel disruption and keeping our social media audience engaged during this period.

It is great to start communicating a more positive message and start to warm up both our customers and potential customers to travelling again, we hope very soon, for leisure purposes. A huge thank you to the marketing team that worked on this and the many late nights that involved.”

The campaign is promoted via PR, Social Media, Email and the DFDS website and you can see the messaging here https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries/rediscover-freedom-with-dfds

Copenhagen – Oslo route resumes service on 25 June

Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways will start sailing again on 25 June from Copenhagen and  26 June from Oslo

Following the announcements from the Danish and Norwegian governments about the opening of the borders between the two countries, DFDS has decided to resume sailings between Copenhagen and Oslo. As both ships are laid up in Copenhagen, the first departures will take place on Thursday 25 June from Copenhagen and Friday 26 June from Oslo.

“We are very pleased that we are finally able to welcome our passengers back to the route. However, there will still be some travel restrictions for guests from Norway. We are investigating how these restrictions should be interpreted and administered.

Minimum staff and crew
“Those travel restrictions and the reduced on-board services dictated by our COVID-19 measures mean that we will start out with the minimum number of staff required for operational start-up, and will monitor booking development closely and change manning on board and ashore when needed.

I am sorry about this, as it means that many of you will remain on temporary leave for yet a while,” Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers says.

Those crew members and shore-based staff who will be needed to start up services will be informed separately about this very soon.

“Those of you who do not hear from us this week will remain on temporary leave until further notice. This is driven by our need to ensure that we get a viable service and continue to benefit from the national support schemes. However, I want to express my gratitude for your continued patience and your support during the many weeks the route has been suspended,” Kasper says.

Will do our best
“I’m really looking forward to starting up the service after this long period of time without a route between Copenhagen and Oslo, and I am confident that together we can still ensure that our passengers can relax and enjoy their sea voyage while practising social distancing,” he adds.

Côte d’Opale launched in China

Côte d’Opale feeling water under the hull for the first time as she was launched today in China.

Today, we can share another newbuilding milestone, that might especially excite our colleagues from the Channel. Côte d’Opale, the 3,100 lane metres newbuilding, destined for our Dover-Calais service, was successfully launched at the shipyard in Weihai – more than one month earlier than planned.

Stena RoRo will be the owner and DFDS will take her on a 10-year bareboat charter immediately after delivery that is scheduled on 30 June 2021 as per original plan.

Kasper Moos, VP and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “With her 214 metres length and the capacity for 1000 passengers, Côte d’Opale will be the longest ferry on the Channel.“

“Contrary to the other ferries in the series of eight ordered by Stena, Côte d’Opale has no passenger cabins due to the short crossing time on The Channel. The extra capacity will optimise the customer experience with additional amenities ensuring passengers will have plenty of space to relax, try modern food concepts and enjoy an extensive shopping experience. I am very much looking forward to presenting Côte d’Opale to our customers and see how she will help strengthen and grow our business on the Channel”

Jesper Aagesen, Director of Newbuilding and Major Conversions, says: “Senior Site Superintendent Jeppe Halkjær Pedersen, who also oversees the construction of the mega freight ferries from Jinling Shipyard, attended the ceremony to represent DFDS and get a good look at ‘our’ coming ferry.”

Now the construction of the ferry will continue with all the outfitting works of the accommodation and facilities.


Now that Côte d’Opale looks like a real DFDS ferry on the outside, it is time for the installation of furnishings, interior spaces and other equipment and systems.

Cruise routes suspension extended until 17 June

Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways will continue to be laid up in Copenhagen. The same goes for King Seaways and Princess Seaways in Amsterdam.

BU Short Routes & Passenger have extended the suspension of our Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo services until 17 June.

“Our ability to resume sailings is, as you know, very dependent on the national measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “If our passengers can’t cross borders, we can’t sail and therefore have no alternative but to extend the suspension,” says Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

“Our customer service colleagues are now working hard to inform our customers about this, rebook travel and handle requests.

“We are all very eager to start sailing again, and we are even receiving requests from passengers who can’t wait to get out to sea with us. However, there is little we can do until the relevant nations have reopened borders for travellers and tourists. Even though some governments have indicated they will make a decision about this before mid-June, patience is still required as we don’t know what they will decide. We also need both Denmark and Norway to open their borders before we can start sailing on the Copenhagen – Oslo route. The same goes for the Netherlands and the UK for the Amsterdam – Newcastle route.”

“As we informed earlier, working groups are already looking into which changes a post-Covid-19 operation will require in the market and on board. However, one thing is certain: When the borders reopen, we can offer one of the safest means of travel. There is plenty of space for social distancing on those large ferries, and passengers have their own cabins. We will of course continue to comply with all recommendations for using public areas and restaurants, including extra cleaning and disinfecting touchpoints to protect the health of both passengers and colleagues.”

Passenger business in the time of corona

The international travel market was the first victim of the coronavirus crisis. DFDS quickly adapted on-board operations to the measures introduced by governments and recommended by WHO and national health authorities to keep operating. However, as borders gradually closed to travellers, there were no alternatives to suspending sailings on our Copenhagen – Oslo and Amsterdam – Newcastle routes and reduce passenger operations on our Channel services and in the Baltic Sea.

“This has been tough on our crews and staff and many are now on temporary leave. Therefore, while we wait for the coronavirus crisis to pass, we should remind ourselves of the benefits of having both freight and passenger services. We saw it in 2008, when the financial crisis hit our freight volumes, and our passenger business, which was less hit, kept results up. Today, with dramatically reduced passenger services, we see freight continuing business,” says Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of the Ferry Division.

“We should also not forget that we have a strong business in the Channel and in the Baltic, because we combine freight and passenger services on board. There is no doubt that this combination makes the routes stronger and more profitable than they would have been as freight-only routes. This will be further stimulated when we receive our new ro-pax ferries, which are under construction in China. In this context, our two cruise routes, with their much bigger passenger business, provide us with a strong basis for developing the passenger business in line with new trends and models. Therefore, it is imperative that we have solid plans for a fast recovery of our passenger operations once the coronavirus crisis wears off and borders open up again,” he says.

Planning for reopening of cruise routes started

Kasper Moos, Head of Short Routes and Passenger, has already put together a team to start work with planning the BU’s reopening of our Copenhagen – Oslo and Amsterdam – Newcastle routes.

“There are many uncertainties. We don’t know exactly when the national travel restrictions will be lifted and markets are right for us to start sailing again. Unfortunately, this may take a while. We must also prepare ourselves for the fact that the COVID-19 virus has changed our customers’ preferences and behaviours. Therefore, the team is working on preparing the routes for getting the most out of the new market we may be facing after the coronavirus crisis,” says Kasper.

“We do not anticipate a big-bang restart. Rather, we expect a gradual start with an initial focus on certain passenger groups. Our assumption is that initially, there will be a higher demand for holiday travel and other travel than for short cruise trips with on-board events and experiences,” he says.

“Even a well-planned, controlled and gradual restart will not remove all the uncertainties which the coronavirus crisis has created – and still is creating – for us. But those two routes were profitable and contributed positively to the Group before the suspension, and our starting point is fantastic. The way you all contributed to dealing with the situation when we were still operating, and the way you contributed to closing down the business shows me that as a team, we are capable of starting up a profitable business fast. As I said when we closed down the Oslo – Copenhagen route: I am weeping with one eye because we had to suspend the routes, and I am smiling with the other eye as I can’t wait to get back to work with you.”

Passenger capacity needed in the Baltic
Similar to the Channel, the Baltic Sea ferry services have accompanied traffic and need their passenger facilities for this.

“When the Baltic countries introduced entry restrictions, we saw a great number of Baltic nationals returning home at the beginning of the crisis. Furthermore, the Baltic governments followed the same trend as other countries by allowing drivers to cross the border to maintain efficient supply chains. And with a reduced number of travellers, we use the unused passenger capacity to improve the way we accommodate drivers – and thus limit the spread of the virus,” says Anders Refsgaard, Head of BU Baltic.

He says: “I am really proud of everyone on the Baltic Sea routes, where the flexibility of our staff has ensured that we maintained a strong traffic for a long time. And when the Polish border produced long queues of lorries, we demonstrated just how important our sea routes and passenger facilities are for connecting countries and businesses throughout the Baltics. This also demonstrates how useful the additional passenger capacities of our new ships from China will be to us from the day they arrive.”

Newhaven – Dieppe schedule changes

Due to the continued Covid-19 situation, demand for our Newhaven Dieppe service has also reduced. We will therefore temporarily adjust our schedule by reducing our frequency.

We will continue sailing in order to service our freight customers and drivers as well as travelers with an essential transport need. A new reduced schedule will start from Saturday with less sailings in mornings and weekends. Our staff, crews, works council and union representatives together with SMPAT have all been informed of these changes.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Our Newhaven – Dieppe service will continue to operate despite the reduced demand as it is critical we support our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains and are available to those undertaking essential travel.

“And again a huge thank you, from myself and the whole management team, to everyone for taking care of our customers so well and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. We can’t wait to be back again to normal schedule as soon as travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

Calais Seaways lay up

Calais Seaways

Due to the continued Covid-19 situation, demand for our Dover – Calais service has reduced. We will therefore adjust our schedule and will temporarily lay up the Calais Seaways. The route will continue sailing with a reduced frequency in order to service our freight customers and drivers as well as travelers with an essential transport need.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Sailings on our Dover – Calais service will continue to a reduced schedule as we have an obligation to keep servicing our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains and those undertaking essential travel. This is in line with the Government’s recommendations to ensure that there is food and other goods on the shelves in the supermarkets and supply of goods to keep wheels turning in industry and communities.

“Unfortunately, the change to our schedule will have an impact for a number of colleagues and we are currently in dialogue with staff, crews, works council and union representatives in respect of that.”

“Needless to say, myself and the whole management team are extremely proud of the way everyone has continued to take care of our customers and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. Now conditions beyond our control have meant a reduction in our frequency on the Dover – Calais service, but I can’t wait to welcome everyone back again as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control and travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

DFDS suspends on-board services on UK – France routes

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the UK – France ferry routes are unable to continue most of their on-board service activities. This means that bars, restaurants and shops on board will be closed until further notice. The routes will continue sailings with a high frequency in order to service our freight customers and their drivers as well as travellers with a transport need.

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of the Covid-19 virus, DFDS has to close restaurants, bars, shops and other services on board our Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkerque and Dieppe – Newhaven routes over the weekend.

Kasper Moos, Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Sailings will continue at a high frequency as we have an obligation to keep servicing our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains. This is in line with the Government’s recommendations to ensure that there is food and other goods on the shelves in the supermarkets and supply of goods to keep wheels turning in industry and communities.

“Unfortunately, the suspension of on-board services will mean that a number of colleagues at sea and ashore will be sent home temporarily, and we are currently in dialogue with staff, crews and union representatives as well as the authorities on possible schemes to mitigate the consequences of this.”

“We fully understand the concerns this causes amongst our staff. But whilst we are doing what we can to comply with new measures and restrictions, we are also trying to keep the wheels turning and at the same time protect our business throughout the crisis.

“Needless to say, myself and the whole management team are extremely proud of the way you have continued to take care of our customers and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. Now conditions beyond our control have put a temporary end to our on-board services, but I can’t wait to welcome you back again as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control and travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

Amsterdam – Newcastle ferry route suspended

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the Amsterdam-Newcastle ferry route will be temporarily suspended. Latest sailings will be on 21 March from Amsterdam and 22 March from Newcastle. DFDS is in consultation with crews on board and staff ashore about the temporary effects on employment.

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of Covid-19 virus, DFDS suspends sailings on the Amsterdam (IJmuiden) – Newcastle route temporarily.

Last sailings will be from Amsterdam on Saturday 21 March and from Newcastle on Sunday 22 March.

“Customers with a booking are being informed individually about this, and we have decided to continue sailing for a few days more to give travelers a chance to get home,” says Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

“We had hoped to be able to continue the route on the basis of a reduced operation. However, the situation has developed fast, and the recent national measures to slow down the virus spread, including travel restrictions, give us no alternative but to suspend sailings until 13 April as a minimum.”

Unfortunately, this also means that we will need to send crews and staff in Newcastle and IJmuiden home until the route can be re-opened. Crewmembers will be on board for some days to get the ships ready to be laid up in IJmuiden. We have informed everyone working at the route about the situation and are currently in talks with union representatives and national authorities in the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark and Germany about this and possible schemes to mitigate the consequences on staff. We will be able to inform people in more detail next week.”

“That we have been able to sail and service our customers until now is only due to the fantastic efforts of our colleagues on board and ashore. They continued working and servicing our customers under extremely difficult conditions, and we owe every one of them our thanks and gratitude. I look very much forward to welcoming colleagues and customers back on the route, as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control,” says Kasper Moos.

COVID-19 affects passenger services: An overview

(This article was published on 17 March. Latest update on 11 June)

DFDS continues to operate our ferry schedules to support communities, ensure vital trade links remain open and goods can be delivered to shops and businesses.

Ferry services remain in operation in the English Channel and Baltic Sea. Copenhagen-Oslo and Amsterdam-Newcastle services are currently suspended.

Please find below an overview of the current status of changes to our passenger routes and keep an eye on this as we will continuously update as soon as we decide on changes:

Route

Current Status
Copenhagen-Oslo Service will restart from Copenhagen on 25 June 2020 and from Oslo on 26 June 2020

Amsterdam-Newcastle

Service suspended up to and including 30 June 2020

Dover-Calais
Dover-Dunkirk

Sailing to normal schedules for freight and those undertaking essential travel

Bars, restaurants, shops and lounges closed until further notice, complimentary meal included for those travelling.

Due to French medical association requirements, the wearing of facemasks is now compulsory for all passengers travelling on our routes between UK and France.

As per UK Government regulations, you are required to read the latest UK public health advice and related duties for entering and staying in the UK before you travel. Read more here.

Note: from the 8th June 2020 all passengers are required to register their contact, travel and address information within 48hrs of arrival into the UK, by completing this online form.

Details about entry into France here
Details about entry into UK here

Newhaven-Dieppe

Sailing to normal schedules for freight and those undertaking essential travel.

Capacity on each sailing is now reduced for passengers and only available to those travelling in a vehicle for essential travel.

Bars, shops, cabins and lounges closed until further notice.

Due to French medical association requirements, the wearing of facemasks is now compulsory for all passengers travelling on our routes between UK and France.

As per UK Government regulations, you are required to read the latest UK public health advice and related duties for entering and staying in the UK before you travel. Read more here.

Note: from the 8th June 2020 all passengers are required to register their contact, travel and address information within 48hrs of arrival into the UK, by completing this online form.

Details about entry into France here
Details about entry into UK here

Kiel-Klaipeda

Sailing to normal schedules for freight and those undertaking essential travel.

The shop, bars and restaurants are now open.

Details about entry into Lithuania here
Details about entry into Sweden here

Karlshamn-Klaipeda

Sailing to normal schedules for freight and those undertaking essential travel.

The shop, bars and restaurants are now open

Details about entry into Lithuania here
Details about entry into Germany here

Kappellskär-Paldiski

Hanko-Paldiski

Departures are running to regular schedule (cargo and passengers with vehicles who have essential need to travel).

No private passenger bookings will be made on Paldiski-Hanko route at least until June 14 2020.

On Paldiski-Kapellskär route online-booking is open.

Bar, restaurant and onboard shop are now open.

Details about entry into Estonia here
Details about entry into Sweden here
Details about entry into Finland here

‘Essential travel’ meaning does vary by country of entry. For more information and local government advice, please see the links above or our FAQs here.

Our onboard and shore based crews are subject to strict hygiene measures, hand sanitizers are available everywhere for use and additional touch point cleaning is being undertaken.

Due to the limited number of passengers onboard our services, we have plenty of space to ensure guidance on social distancing can happen. Our outside decks are also open for use.

COVID-19 measures on the UK – France routes

Dover Seaways, and other ferries on the UK – France routes, will sail with additional COVID-19 measures and precautions.

To slow down the spread of COVID-19 on our UK – France routes, several measures are implemented including reducing the number of passengers allowed on board and precautions advised by World Health Organisation. There are no changes to the sailing schedules.

Over the last few days, the French government has taken significant measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within France.  

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “There are no changes to our sailing schedulesTo minimise the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of those travelling, we have reduced the maximum number of people allowed on each crossing by 50% on our routes; Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkirk and Newhaven – Dieppe until at least 6 April. Passenger booking remains open as we work hard to ensure that people can get home and undertake essential travel. 

In addition, other onboard precautions advised by the World Health Organisation are implemented which includes:  

  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use. 
  • Ongoing extra touchpoint cleaning. 
  • No more than 100 people in each of our venues onboard 
  • The ships’ crew is subject to strict measures and hygiene requirements. 
  • The ships carry a stock of masks to limit the spread of infection, if the need should arise. 

“We are committed to ensure that our passengers have the best service and experience whilst travelling with us and we will continue to do so during this difficult period” says Kasper. 

He continues: Our routes between the UK and France are also an important part of the arteries of trade. We will therefore continue to provide frequency and capacity to ensure that vital goods can reach shops and businesses. 

Oslo – Copenhagen colleagues sent home with pay

Danish aid package for business means that crews on Pearl and Crown can be sent home with pay. A small group of crew members will continue in order to prepare the ships to be laid up. Staff who are sent home to contribute with a week’s annual leave.

As announced last Friday, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways will be laid up in Copenhagen. This is a consequence of the temporary suspension of sailings on the Copenhagen – Oslo route because of the Danish and Norwegian entry restrictions that have been introduced to protect the countries against the spread of Covid-19.

Naturally, the laying up of the ships has major consequences for a ferry route as a workplace and as a business. Therefore, we are incredibly relieved that, in record time, the partners in the labour market have succeeded in agreeing on an aid package that will greatly benefit the employees on the Copenhagen – Oslo route.

The aid package, which currently runs until 9 June, means that the vast majority of crew members can be sent home with pay during the lay-up period.

The crew members who are not sent home must help get Pearl and Crown ready to be laid up. They include parts of the operating and catering crews.

The crews were briefed about this today at meetings on board.

Land-based staff are also affected
The cancelled sailings will also affect colleagues on land. Although it has been extremely busy to adapt the business to conditions that have changed from hour to hour, while also ensuring good communication with customers, there will gradually be less work ashore. Therefore, some of the employees at the terminal and office in Copenhagen will also be sent home with pay during the temporary route closure. We will provide more information about this as soon as possible.

Contributions from employees
The Danish government and the labour market partners have agreed that those who are sent home with pay must themselves contribute by taking a week’s annual leave, and that they must also be available to be called back to work when the need arises.

I am incredibly pleased that in this way we can pause the workplace until the situation has normalised. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you aboard and ashore who have ensured that our ships have been sailing steadily and safely, and customers have received the normal good service, even under the very difficult conditions of the Covid-19 crisis.

Best regards
Torben Carlsen
CEO

COVID-19: DFDS Suspends mini-cruises

As governments implement new COVID-19 measures, DFDS Suspends mini-cruises on Amsterdam-Newcastle route. Sailing continues for transportation purposes. Pictured is King Seaways.

 

DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini cruises until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled, and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

Over the last few days, the Dutch government has taken a number of significant measures as part of efforts to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Included in those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of all bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within the Netherlands.

As a result of this DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini-cruises with immediate effect until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled with immediate effect and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

The Amsterdam Newcastle service will continue to sail for transportation purposes and bookings will remain available. Onboard our service we have already taken significant measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 including:

• Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use.
• Ongoing extra touchpoint cleaning.
• Buffet food now served to passengers by our staff
• No more than 100 people in each of our venues onboard
• The ships’ crew is subject to strict measures and hygiene requirements.
• The ships carry a stock of masks to limit the spread of infection, if the need should arise.

As you know, we have also taken every precaution advised by the World Health Organisation to minimise the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 to protect the health of those travelling.

The customers will receive an email today about this.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of Passenger

The Copenhagen-Oslo route suspended

New national measures to delay spread of Covid-19 means we have to temporarily suspend the Copenhagen-Oslo route.

 

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of Covid-19 virus, DFDS suspends sailings on the Copenhagen-Oslo route temporarily.

“We had hoped to be able to continue with the changes we had introduced to meet the Danish government’s measures, but now the Norwegian government has introduced measures which means that passengers will have to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into Norway if they have been outside the Nordic countries in the period after 27 February. We fully understand the precautions that have important health and social goals. In order to live up to our responsibilities to support the measures, we see no alternatives to suspend sailings until 1 April as a minimum,” says Kasper Moos, VP, Short Routes & Passenger.

The last departure from Copenhagen will be Saturday 14 March, whilst the last departure from Oslo will be Sunday 15 March.

“We have to continue for a few days to ensure that the guests who have been on a ski holiday to Norway or city holiday to Denmark get reasonable time to get home or change their travel plans,” he says.

Affected employees will be informed as soon as possible

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer, says: “Unfortunately, with this temporary route suspension, we will not be able to avoid that it impacts our colleagues on board. We are very sorry about this. Our skilled and dedicated staff have worked hard to ensure that the route has been able to continue until now, and that our guests have been able to enjoy a good travel experience, even under the very difficult conditions they have worked under in the past weeks and months.”

“We have to inform about the route closure now so that our customers have the opportunity to change their travel plans. Unfortunately, this means that we have not yet had the opportunity to evaluate what this exactly means for each individual employee. We are now in contact with the relevant trade unions and staff representatives to find the best possible solutions to the difficult situation, and we will of course inform the affected employees as soon as we are able,” she says.

Customers are being informed

DFDS is now working hard to contact the customers who have booked a trip during the period to inform about the route suspension.

 

Commercial focus on public sector

DFDS acknowledged as competitive conference venue: Danish business sales team highlighted the offering to the Danish public sector at IKA (association of public procurement agents) convention in Copenhagen. Pictures: Sales & Key Account Managers Bente Poppelhøj Nielsen and Anders Christensen.

 

With an increased commercial focus on the Danish public sector, our Danish business sales team in Passenger participated as exhibitors at the annual IKA convention in Copenhagen on 26 and 27 February, at the Tivoli Hotel.

The business sales team presented special conference products and bundled event packages specially designed for key segments within the public sector at the yearly conference.

Bente Nielsen, Sales & Key Account Manager, says: “Our team offered virtual tours of our ships, thanks to our newly released Virtual Reality tool, which proved to be a great way to show our on-board offering and shape perceptions.

“We used the opportunity to gather important information about procurement requirements directly from the delegates. We were pleased with the great interest in our products and clear acknowledgement of DFDS’ ferries being a strong alternative to more traditional conference solutions – especially for conferences that seek high levels of focus, efficiency and social networking amongst the participants.”

CSR themed conference package garnered interest

Anders Christensen, Sales & Key Account Manager, says: “Our bundled conference package that included a CSR and environmental element in Oslo was especially interesting to delegates. As Oslo was the European Green Capital in 2019, this offers an opportunity to spice up a meeting with a themed excursion in Oslo relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are expanding our strategy towards the public sector even more as DFDS appears to be a great match and stands out among competitors.”

Chefs improve knowledge about fish

On Thursday 26th February our chefs from King Seaways had the opportunity to visit and train with Nico from Eco-Seafood who owns a fish shop very close to the port where King Seaways is moored.

“There is no doubt about the passion that Nico puts into his craft. His interest in fish and seafood goes way back to his childhood and has since then succeeded the business from his father” says Peter Shlaimon, Sous Chef on board King Seaways.

Nico shared stories of the daily routines in the shop while growing up and emphasized how important his father’s teachings have been to him.

“We are lucky to have a supplier with generations of knowledge behind him. Nico is well known in the Netherlands and is involved in the fish trade all over the country where he buys from auctions whenever he can catch a good price” says Jørn Vase, Commercial Head on board King Seaways.

He continues: “The quality of what we serve is very important to us, and Nico has provided King and Princess Seaways with quality seafood for over 15 years. In addition, we are very happy that Nico’s business is both MSC and ASC Certified, meaning that their fish is caught or grown in a sustainable way.”

The chefs were very happy with the things Nico showed and will bring the newly learned knowledge back to King Seaways.


Nico from Eco-Seafood in the middle of sharing his knowledge about fish and seafood with our chefs on board King Seaways

Inspiring Passenger meeting at Klaipeda

Visitors and hosts enjoyed a lovely dinner and the good company

On 18 and 19 February, Casper Puggaard, Global Sales & Customer Care Director; Richard Stone, Head of Field Sales; Janet Donaldson, Head of Sales Operation; Lucas Kragh, Yield & Revenue Management Director and Martine Balslev, Interim Revenue Manager, went on a two-day trip to visit our colleagues in Klaipeda in their new office.

The purpose of the trip was first and foremost to introduce Janet, who has been promoted recently, and Richard to the Baltic routes so that they could get relevant insights for developing the sales strategy. Gaining knowledge about the competitive landscape in the area was an important topic as well.

Lucas joined in his role as Passenger point of contact for Robertas Kogelis, Director, Terminal Operations & Onboard Sales, and Martine joined as well due to her recent appointment as Revenue Manager for the Baltic routes.

Casper says: “With our new global functional structure, it is important that we meet face to face from time to time to ensure alignment on strategies and daily focus in general. Weekly e-mails and Skype sessions with the use of video take us some of the way, but when deep diving into strategy and ways of improving collaboration, it is always great to meet face to face. We learned a lot about the Baltic routes, and we all appreciated the open and fruitful discussions.”

Robertas says: “It was a great pleasure to welcome our Short Routes & Passenger colleagues in Klaipeda. I trust valuable inputs and introductions from our local specialist team provided great insights on the Baltic business environment to our visitors, particularly to Richard and Janet.
The Baltic Sea area is an exciting marketplace with both a strong competitor landscape and inspiring opportunities with Sirena Seaways coming in April, and the plans for newbuilds in 2021.
Along with in-depth discussions on key business objectives and challenges, we also used this visit as a perfect occasion for us all in Klaipeda: Sales, Customer Care, Marketing and Onboard, to get together and enjoy a lovely dinner at the Friedrich‘s restaurant.”

Passenger to implement Agile around core teams to improve performance

Declan Walsh and Kasper Moos have been working with Passenger to put lean and agile structures in place that are conducive to great teamwork, improved productivity and shorter time to market.

 

The Passenger organisation is fully on board with the Win23 strategy, and now with a new agile structure to drive productivity and increase revenue.

Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy Director & DIO and Kasper Moos, VP and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger have been working with the wider Passenger organisation to put lean and agile structures in place. The concept is well known, and the general idea is for this to lead to great teamwork, improved productivity and shorter time to market.

Core teams working small projects

The structures are built around core teams for Copenhagen – Oslo, Amsterdam – Newcastle, Baltic Routes and Eastern Channel, with Western Channel in progress. As shown in the illustration below, these core teams have cross-functional responsibilities to address challenges and issues on their routes without the need for intervention from Passenger Management.


Declan Walsh: “We are evolving the responsibilities of these core teams so that they are also responsible for defining development objectives and deploying resources.”

 

Development objectives are small, narrowly defined projects that will improve the proposition for any given route, and in some cases for Passenger as a whole. Projects run for four to eight weeks with people typically allocated to work on them one day per week in parallel with their usual duties.

“The output can be a new strategy. Other times it might be a new proposition for a prioritised target micro segment, and in other instances it might be some analysis or a tool that allows better decision making,” Declan says.

When a development objective has been completed, it is handed over to the Core Team so that they can assess and test what value can be generated from the development objective, resulting in a Win23 contribution that is tracked in the same way as other Win23 initiatives.

Example: Copenhagen – Oslo route project

VP and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger Kasper Moos says: “The completed project Copenhagen – Oslo: Seniors in Q1 & Q4 is a perfect example of this. The objective was to utilise unused capacity during the week on Copenhagen – Oslo in Q1 and Q4, and seniors are one of the few micro segments that can travel when that capacity is available.”

The development objective was led by Senior Campaign Manager Rikke Welløv with team members from OBS, PDM and Partnership, who allocated 20% of their time in a month, and worked together in a collocated manner two half days a week.

Rikke says: “Work included running customer surveys to determine what that micro segment wants and then designing supporting propositions and campaigns. The output of that work is currently being tested so that we can see what impact this could have on the Win23 strategy.”

Becoming data driven with Google

To catch the attention of customers, you must be personal, precise and strategic in your marketing efforts. An enormous amount of data is available, however, using it efficiently is key to successful marketing.

Last Tuesday, the Passenger Marketing team welcomed Google to Newcastle for a workshop dedicated to becoming more proficient regarding the collected data and to help build a truly customer-centric approach to our initiatives and activities. Other topics included future thinking across the travel and digital landscapes, a look into innovative technology, and how being fully connected impacts the travel industry.

Sophie Hoult, Head of Acquisition Marketing, says: ”We want to place our customers and data at the heart of our decision making. In order to do so, one of Google’s Senior Analytical Consultants explored the data collected by the Passenger Marketing team and gave an insight into the exact audiences and how to place each key audience at the centre of a personalised communication flow. This enables us to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.”

Over the next 12 months, various specialists from Google will return for a series of mini workshops. They aim to improve our creative activities, the customer experience and the utilisation of data in DFDS’ future marketing efforts. These workshops will also support our Win23 strategy.

Pete Akerman, Passenger Marketing Director, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome colleagues from Google’s European HQ, and we are very excited about the results of the first workshop. Our global passenger approach and partnership with Google allow us to access a greater level of travel insight and emerging technologies, which improves our efficiency and marketing performance when targeting relevant audiences. We are looking forward to the many following workshops.”

Dunkerque refitted with a brand-new lounge

Artist impression of the new Horizon restaurant on board Dunkerque Seaways. The restaurant is already popular on ferries sailing on the Dover – Calais route.

With many customers travelling long distances, the chance to relax is a very welcoming part of the customer experience. From today on, passengers can look forward to a peaceful and quiet journey in the new Relax Lounge. As shown on the picture below, the lounge has chairs built into an airline style pod for extra privacy, complimented by soft lighting for the perfect stress-free environment. While children can enjoy other activities and facilities on board, the Relax Lounge will only be accessible for passengers over 16.


Artist impression of the new relax lounge on board Dunkerque Seaways

The new fully refurbished Premium Lounge areas now have comfortable lounge furniture and modern décor to provide luxurious and peaceful surroundings. This private lounge is open 24 hours a day and is available for all ages. Passengers can enjoy complimentary glass of Prosecco, snacks and pastries, hot and cold refreshments and hot food available from the Premium Lounge menu.


Artist impression of the refurbished Premium Lounge area

With the success of the Horizon restaurant on the Dover to Calais routes, the refit also includes this restaurant being installed on all three ships on the Dover to Dunkirk route. Here guests can enjoy a selection of freshly cooked pizzas, pasta dishes and healthy salads.


Artist impression of the new Horizon restaurant

Passengers will also benefit from new bathroom facilities throughout the ship and can now enjoy watching a spot of television in the Lighthouse Café, with newly installed TVs as an additional feature.

Steve Newbery, Onboard Commercial Director for BU Short Routes and Passenger at DFDS said: “This is a very exciting refit programme and continues on from last year’s successes with our Lighthouse Café. It also demonstrates our commitment to continuously improve the passenger experience. Dunkerque Seaways will be the first of the three ships on the Dover to Dunkirk route to receive a number of new looks as part of a £3.9m investment. The two other ships, Delft Seaways and Dover Seaways will be refitted from 1st March and the end of March respectively.

“We believe the improvements will help our passengers relax even more and give them the best possible start to their onward journeys. Many of the changes are in response to ideas and suggestions from our customers, so I am looking forward to the feedback from our passengers.”

Colleagues in Lithuania attract talent

Choose Klaipėda! – DFDS participated in career and studies fair to attract talents. From the left: Karolis Dobrovolskas, Goda Baltuonė, Aistė Tunaitytė, Kristijanas Kiseliovas, and the moderator of the event Remigijus Žiogas.

 

This January, for the third time in a row, universities, schools and employers in Klaipėda greeted young people at the career and studies fair ‘Studijų regata’. The main purpose of the fair is to encourage young people to live, study and work in Klaipėda; to show that there are plenty of possibilities for them to grow and learn.

Naturally this is also a great chance for DFDS to attract young talent, and DFDS joined this year for the first time to showcase job opportunities. On-Board Sales and Passenger marketing teams joined forces and spent the day engaging with students.

Karolis Dobrovolskas, On-Board Operations Supervisor, says: “Our purpose here is not only to find employees right away, but also to spread the idea of working on-board in the Baltic Sea and with DFDS itself. It’s an investment for the future, as we expect the students will think about opportunities at DFDS in their future.”

See the new-look Crown

Crown Seaways has returned to her usual route, Copenhagen – Oslo, after a month in dry dock at Fayard Shipyard in Denmark. During docking, the cruise ferry’s facilities were renovated. A new shore-power system and a scrubber were also installed, as we shared with you last week.

This week, Route Director Kim Heiberg invited colleagues on board to gain a first-hand impression of the improved and updated facilities that we will be offering our passengers travelling on the cruise route.

Kim says: “I am very happy with the new look on board Crown. This is the result of hard work from every colleague on board, and fantastic cooperation with Technical Organisation and Procurement. With these improvements, we wanted to make a clearer distinction between the ways the various restaurants and bars differ from one another, as they each offer a unique atmosphere, and I think we have succeeded in doing so. Now both our cruise ferries are sailing with a fresh, updated look that will undoubtedly create a better travel experience for our customers.”

Please take a look the pictures below showcasing some of the new, updated looks on board the cruise ferry, and kindly provided by Christofer Adolfsson.


The buffet restaurant Seven Seas now has a new look for the buffet, with a better display and greater flexibility to improve the dining experience.


In Sjø, the installation of a new noise-reducing wall will ensure a cosier atmosphere, and the look and feel of a gourmet restaurant.



Refreshing and reupholstered sofas and chairs have made the Columbus Nightclub and Sky Club bars look modern and welcoming.


The conference areas have also been updated with a new look.

In addition to the above updating work, improvements and refreshed looks have also carried out to the standard commodore cabins, a new VIP Euro Room, the on-board shop, Wine Bar and Little Italy, as well as the Explorer Steakhouse.

Impressive December on Eastern Channel routes

As some of you know, our Eastern Channel routes had a challenging 2019 due to uncertainty about Brexit and lower PAX volumes from online travel agents. They represent a significant customer segment for these routes. However, there are also some encouraging developments to report about as the year ended with a December that had the best revenue on record.

Claire Hosking, Head of Channel, says: “Despite a smaller market size, we grew both market share and revenue considerably for December. This fantastic result is in no small part due to an impressive yield. The yields we have seen are connected to higher pricing in the market, particularly over the peak weekends where pricing was at levels we have not seen before for the Christmas break.”

Lucas Kragh, Yield & Revenue Management Director, says: “The positive December has many contributing factors. One is the strong collaboration across the whole Passenger business but it is also important to highlight our ability to respond faster with more accurate prices due to our bespoke pricing models and forecasting tools. This, combined with a successful organisational transformation of Revenue Management, has been a very potent cocktail, not only for our Eastern Channel routes but also for the other passenger routes.”

Business case match-making in Utrecht

Dutch University collaboration: DFDS pitches business cases at match-making event in Data-Driven Entrepreneurship. With Attila Gulyas on the left, students in the middle, and Declan Walsh on the right.

 

Declan Walsh and Attila Gulyas recently visited Utrecht University School of Economics in the Netherlands to reach out to the students and attract new talent.

Declan, Business Development & Strategy Director & DIO, did a pitch for students on the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme, with two teams of students taking on DFDS business hypotheses.

This collaboration was initiated by Attila, Business Process Developer in Fulfilment Ferry Division, who took a similar course at the same faculty.

One team made a very interesting business case with the topic ‘Ferry as a Hotel’, about making a comfortable and sustainable offer for Ferry customers.

On 15 January, the pair then attended a presentation of the work accomplished by the teams and awarded them vouchers for an Amsterdam – Newcastle mini-cruise.

Declan says: “In late January, the students submitted their final work, concluding this very positive collaboration. The match-making element also paid off, as two of the eight students have since been in touch with us about pursuing careers at DFDS after they graduate this summer.”