Denmark-Oslo route further suspended

Because of updated travel restrictions announced by the Danish government on 8 January and Norwegian restrictions from early January, Pearl Seaways was laid up and the Oslo – Frederikshavn – Copenhagen route was temporally suspended from 10 January. On 13 January, the travel restrictions were prolonged by the Danish government meaning that the suspension will last until at least the 7 February.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Group Passenger, says: “During the lay-up period, the vast majority of crew members are sent home with pay as a benefit from the government’s aid package, which has been extended in parallel with the continued restrictions. A small group remain at work to maintain the cruise ferry until it resumes service.”

The travel restrictions affect all travel in and out of Denmark, and the borders are closed to all entrants who do not have an “essential” purpose for entry. The suspension is therefore expected to last at least as long as the new restrictions apply.

Nicole Seroff takes over

On 4 January, Nicole Seroff took over as DFDS’ Head of Communications from Gert Jakobsen who will retire.

This means that Nicole is now responsible for media relations, communications advisory, internal communications and digital communications incl. social media and webAll issues and requests previously directed to Gert Jakobsen should now be directed to Nicole, or to one of the six members of our communications team 

To ensure we have a group view on things, please remember to involve Nicole in media activities and requests that have other than local relevance or specific business relevance.

Nicole will also replace Gert in the crisis committee and be responsible for the committee’s communications and media handling in case of a crisis. 

New press contact

“In order to ensure that DFDS is always accessible to the press, Nicole has established a special media contact that is posted in’s media page. In the future, media can get in contact with DFDS via +45 31 16 28 47 or    

Please join me in welcoming Nicole to DFDS. She has a strong background as communications partner to an executive vice president in Novo Nordisk, a global pharmaceutical company, and I am confident you will all support her in her new job,” says Søren Brøndholt Nielsen, VP, Corporate Communications  

“We will say goodbye to Gert later as he will be around until 12 March to assist Nicole in getting acquainted with DFDS and the communication tasks.

Meet the crew: Julius Griška

This time we meet Julius GriškaJulius has a life story is remarkable. He has lived in four countries. He acquired his current qualification by coincidence. He has prepared food for thousands of cruise ferry passengers, completed an apprenticeship at a Michelin-rated restaurant owned by a world-famous chef and cooked for the likes of the previous Prime Minister of Lithuania and Formula One champions during a race event. 

He now works on board Regina Seaways and, in his own words, he feels like he is living a dream. Ideal schedule, a job he is passionate about and the opportunity to have some alone time. Just like in his previous career, today Julius works in the kitchen. He claims that the most important thing to understand about working in the kitchen is it is not about an individual but rather about working as a team. If someone faces difficulties, you must give them a hand.  

Chef by coincidence 

Since early days, I really enjoyed cooking. And, of course, eating. However, my life ambition was to work in car repairs and to become a vehicle technician. After graduating from secondary school, I moved to Dublin where I took some odd jobs before I decided to pursue vocational training. The study group for a technician training programme was already, however, there was a chef training group still open for enrolment at the other end of the corridor. This was how I ended up becoming a chef, all by coincidence” says Julius. 

How I see my job 

When I started working aboard cruise ferries, I realized that I do not suffer from any kind of sea-sickness, even though I have sailed through rough sea conditions. This probably explains my longing for the sea that I felt as soon as I got home. 

There is a world of difference between my current and previous jobs. There are thousands of customers and a kitchen staff of 60 people aboard a cruise ship compared to just six of us working on board Regina. But I can firmly say that I am actually living my dream here! On cruise ships, we worked for 4 months followed by 2 months of shore leave. Thus, while working here, I never feel exhausted. In the beginning, I even took some extra work after I came back from the sea. I no longer do that. Now I devote all of my free time to myself. I really like the fact that we have very clear boundaries here. You work, you get your shore leave and then you simply forget about your job. You do not take work stress home with you. 

When the pandemic hit, the pace of life has slowed for many of us. I realized that there is no point in running yourself ragged. I’m about to turn 40 and I spent my entire life trying to get somewhere frantically. 

In my freetime 

I enjoy living an active lifestyle. I like sports, walking, mushroom hunting, fishing, basketball and football. I am equally comfortable just sitting in my armchair and watching TV for hours on end, without even taking a shower.

Simply walking

December is often full of socialising with friends, family and not least colleagues. This year is different, and we have to think outside the box to find ways thave fun and bond in other ways than we are used to. 

What better way to encourage a good time than with a healthy competition out in the fresh air? Two teams of eight colleagues from marketing, call centre and onboard sales in the Baltics, took the challenge to see what team could do the most steps in three weeks. All done in a safe manner. 

Viktorija Kaminskienė, Head of Customer Care Baltics, says: “It is so easy to get into the hamster wheel while working and living at the same place. To maintain good mental health, it’s important to exercise and why not to do it together with your dear colleagues. We can learn new ways to create team spirit while working from home. This competition was rewarding for me as I could see that people were motivated to do an extra step. Team members shared their incredible results and sent pictures from the places they walked.“ 

Linas Lesauskas, Project Manager, Onboard Sales, says: “This activity was special because of lack of socialisation due to corona.  common goal, surprising bonding experience and a chance to see my colleagues from a different perspective made these three weeks joyous and exciting. Meetings held while walking in the park, haiku‘s written as a consequence of being last on a given day, morning coffee out on the seashore – that was truly rewarding.“ 

New department in Technical

In order to support DFDS’ strategic ambitions, Technical Organisation has established a new Performance Department. It will be managed by Lina Barsøe Rønn Christensen, who has, at the same time, been promoted to Performance Manager.

Lina’s primary tasks will be to enhance and improve our current monitoring systems that monitor vessels performance, and define and set new standards, including target settings to provide sufficient guidance and support for the Climate Action Plans in the coming year,” says Thomas Mørk, VP Technical Organisation. 

“She will ensure this is done in close collaboration with other departments, such as Data & Analytics, to ensure we use our operational data in the best possible way to drive continuous improvement. It also aims to reduce actions and behaviours that increase CO2 emissions. 

“In close cooperation with the CSR Team, Lina is also representing DFDS on various industry forumssuch as IMO and EU, where the standards for emissions for shipping in the coming years are being set. 

“Lina is without doubt the bestqualified professional we could find for this role. After finishing her Master’s thesis in naval architecture on evaluating the effects of retrofits, she has proven to be theoretically extremely well-grounded, straightforward and smart in finding new solutionseven when she is met with scepticism. She is also a great colleague to be around and work with, and I warmly congratulate both Lina on her promotion, and DFDS for being able to attract such talented people  

Lars-Olof Albert retires

Lars-Olof Albert

Lars-Olof Albert, Technical Organisation’s grey eminence in Gothenburg, has decided to retire at the end of this month after 26 years as a superintendent and 35 years in all with the company. 

Lars-Olof graduated as a master mariner in 1973 and went to sea for 13 years until 1986, when he became a foreman at a stevedore company owned by Tor Line, which was part of DFDS. He moved on to the booking department where he specialised in towage. In 1994 he completed his transformation from seafaring to engineering by becoming a superintendent – which was very much in line with his huge interest in science and technical matters.

His achievements as a superintendent include several changes of flag between Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Lithuania and others, as well as numerous major technical projects such as replacing rudders, extensions to three ‘flower’ vessels and scrubber installations. There will be very few people who can match his experience in dry-docking. He has managed projects in Dubai, Malta, Barcelona, Las Palmas, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Horten, Gothenburg, Frederikshavn, Fredericia, Odense and Remontowa. And we haven’t even mentioned his involvement with the Ark chartered vessels, the recycling of Tor Anglia in China in 2010, and the many other things he has achieved on behalf of DFDS. And at the end of his career, he had the opportunity to welcome DFDS’ largest ships ever with Hollandia’s arrival in Gothenburg last year. 

It was a good day for DFDS when Lars-Olof decided to embark on a career at Tor Line. It has been a privilege to work with someone as skilled, experienced and dedicated as him. I thank him warmly for his achievements for DFDS and wish him all the best in his new and less obligated life, says Thomas Mørk. 

New Contract Logistics Director

A warm welcome on board to our new colleague Patrik Strid. Patrik will start at the end of August as Contract Logistics Director. He will be highly involved in developing the Logistics Division’s contract logistics business throughout its own and DFDS’ wider network. He will work from our office in Gothenburg.

Patrik has a solid background in logistics from an almost 30-year career. He has mostly focused on warehousing and distribution. Patrik worked for nearly 10 years for DHL Supply Chain AB in Sweden. His last position at DHL was as Operations Director, where he was responsible for all logistics in Russia while living in Moscow.

Since then, he has managed his own company that focused on logistics and offered everything from hiring staff to consulting services, contracting, and operations. This company was sold to Aditro Logistics AB where Patrik became COO and spent the last five years responsible for all operational activities.

As another company acquired Aditro, Patrik wanted a new challenge and we are happy that he will start at DFDS, continuing to grow our warehousing offering and develop more services within this area to new and existing customers.

Patrik lives in the southern part of Sweden with his wife and two sons.

“I look forward to working with Patrik. I’m sure that he will be a great contribution to Logistics with all the experience he has gained during his many years in the industry,” says Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of the Logistics Division.

Maria Franksen new MD of Gothenburg Ro-Ro Terminal

Maria Franksen

The Gothenburg Ro-Ro Terminal has found its new Managing Director. From 1 November 2020 the position will be filled by Maria Franksen, an international businesswoman with a mountain of experience in the supply chain business, which the terminal is there to serve.

Maria’s career in the supply chain industry began as a forklift driver   in a warehouse in the port during her studies, and this taught her an important lesson: Nearly everything is related to supply chain. This took her to Volvo Logistics and a 20-year long management career in various Volvo companies. She continued her career as a Supply Chain Director and Production Manager at Stena Steel and, finally, as National Warehouse Manager at Carlsberg Sverige from 2018 – and now she joins Gothenburg Ro-Ro Terminal.

“I get energy from seeing people develop and from being able to do things better and together, and I look very much forward to getting to know my new colleagues at Gothenburg Ro-Ro and working with all the terminal’s many stakeholders,” Maria says.

Morgan Olausson, Vice President and Head of Business Unit BU North Sea North, says: “With her strong leadership skills, her vast experience of supply chain operations and cooperation with customers and unions, I believe she will be exactly the right person to bring the Gothenburg Ro-Ro terminal forward towards excellence and ensure that the company stays a key terminal in the trade from and to Sweden. And, not least, a good workplace that provides many jobs.”

“I warmly welcome Maria to DFDS and hope you will all join me in giving her a good start in her new job.”

Vacant UK/Ireland HR director position filled

Even during times like these when we are in the painful process of adapting DFDS to a new normal after the coronavirus crisis, we still have key positions to fill. For some time, we have been looking for a replacement for HR Director Suzanne Dickson who left DFDS last year, and therefore, I am pleased to announce that Fran Williams will be our new HR Director for HR UK & Ireland.  

Fran is a strategic HR leader with great, all-round HR experience, especially within HR business partnering, organizational change and HR operations. She has even won awards for her success with driving culture and engagement in organisations. 

Most recently, Fran worked for XPO Logistics UK for eight years, and before this, she was Head of HR for Wolseley UK and Tesco.   

Fran will be based in Immingham and took up her responsibility on 1 July, and I am confident you will all support her in her new role. 

Fran will report to me, and I look very much forward to welcoming her to DFDS and the HR team. 

I also have to express my gratitude to Annabelle Vallance who took upon her the responsibility of the UK & Ireland  HR organisation at a time it was challenged by the coronavirus crisis. She did extremely well under difficult conditions and deserves our warm thanks for this. 

Covid-19: DFDS adapts structure, staff and costs

Dear everyone,

When we stepped into 2020, the world and DFDS saw a very different year ahead of us than we do now. The completely unexpected Covid-19 pandemic left no company in the travel and transport sector unaffected.

At DFDS, passenger revenue dropped to close to zero. Freight volumes and terminal activity dropped dramatically. Financially, Covid-19 is expected to reduce DFDS’ operating result for 2020 by up to DKK 1.7 billion even after implementing a number of mitigating operational initiatives and taking the various national aid packages into account.

Adapting structure, staff and costs to regain growth
Throughout our network, restrictions are being lifted, manufacturers are resuming operations, and government support measures are ending. Though developments vary between countries, we are now seeing the outlines of a new normal.

It will not be a return to the situation before the crisis. We face a world with less freight and fewer passengers to carry.

Consequently, we adapt our structure, staff and costs to the business that will emerge after Covid-19, allowing us to regain growth and profitability and maintain our position as an attractive employer also in the future.

Nearly all areas will be affected
Nearly all areas throughout the Group will be affected over the next couple of months. As labour market processes vary across the various jurisdictions, you will be informed locally about changes for your area as soon as possible. Today, we can announce the following:

The Copenhagen – Oslo route has resumed operations now with the leg from Frederikshavn to Oslo added. On-board concepts on both Copenhagen-Oslo and Amsterdam-Newcastle have been adjusted and consequently, we have said goodbye to 136 on-board colleagues and further 171 crews on voyage contracts that have not been renewed. The changes also mean that we have said goodbye to 21 colleagues in the onshore passenger organisation in Copenhagen.

In IT & Digital, the coronavirus has accelerated the introduction of a new and leaner organisation to enable us to deliver digital business solutions more effectively. This will affect 16 colleagues. The new IT & Digital organisation will be announced on Tuesday 30 June.

The Finance Division has accelerated its transformation towards more focus on finance business partnering. The changes will affect two colleagues in the management team. More about the Finance Division’s new structure here.

Procurement, Logistics, Ferry/Technical Organisation/Fleet Management and Crewing will be reduced by nine positions in total in Copenhagen.

Group Marketing’s functions will be distributed between IT & DigitalIndustries & Client Engagement and Corporate Communications. In total, we have said goodbye to five colleagues in those areas because of the changes.

See the Industries & Client Engagement structure here, and the new Corporate Communications structure here.

All affected colleagues in Copenhagen have been informed, and have been offered support by external outplacement specialists.

Your manager will inform about changes in your department.

In the following locations, consultations will commence soon or have commenced:

In Oslo, Passenger’s Customer Care activities for the Copenhagen – Oslo route will be moved to the Customer Care team in Copenhagen. Along with other changes, this will potentially affect 19 colleagues.

Immingham Ferry agency and terminal will enter into consultations with union representatives about a proposal to reduce the staff by 62 positions across all areas. 13 colleagues will move to logistics, including to the new Industry Customer Engagement team.

At Immingham Logistics and Special Cargo, consultations have commenced about a reduction of 24 positions.

At the Liverpool site, a restructuring plan to align the changes following the recent business acquisition has been announced.

In Logistics in Sweden, DFDS will commence consultations with the unions about a potential reduction of operational staff and drivers by about 10 positions in addition to the 25 redundancies already announced.

In the Gothenburg RoRo Terminal, consultations will commence about a reduction of administrative and operational staff by about 55 positions in total.

In Vlaardingen, seven positions in the Ferry Division will be affected. The Chairman of the Works Council has been informed shortly before this announcement about the upcoming reductions. Analysis of reductions in Vlaardingen Logistics are pending due to this entity currently under a governmental aid package.

In Ghent Logistics and Ferry, we will merge activities to benefit from synergies between the two divisions. Four positions will be impacted.

Changes are related to Covid-19

These unfortunate measures are all caused by the direct and indirect effects of Covid-19.

All colleagues leaving DFDS now or during the coming months have contributed greatly to DFDS’s success during many years. It is hard working and dedicated colleagues that due to no fault of their own we now say goodbye to. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to each and every one impacted and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

On behalf of the EMT,

Torben Carlsen

Essay competition for young professionals

If you are a young maritime professional, you also have an opinion about your industry’s path to sustainability. And now, you can make your thoughts matter on a greater scale than usual: The Global Maritime Forum runs an annual essay competition for young talents (18-30), and this year’s entrants are invited to consider how the global maritime sector can contribute to realising the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The three winners of the competition will be invited to attend the Global Maritime Forum’s Virtual High-Level Meeting this year, as well as the Annual Summit in London in 2021, with all expenses covered.

The essay will, obviously, need to be written in English, and the deadline is looming – 19 June – so please do not hesitate to get your thoughts organised and presented in an essay. An international committee will select three winners from the many contributions.

“Young talents may very well be the source of the solutions to many of the challenges our industry is facing, and I would be proud to see some contributions from the many young people at DFDS who I think have the skills it takes to stand out, even on a global scale,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer.

Read more about the Global Maritime Forum’s annual Future Maritime Leaders essay competition here and find last year’s winners’ contributions in this PDF.

All ships sound their horns for seafarers

On 1 May, a symphony of ship horns sounding will recognise the contributions and sacrifices of seafarers during the pandemic. All DFDS ships are expected to contribute, even the cruise ships currently laid up


DFDS ships join the International Chamber of Shipping’s initiative to sound the horns on 1 May to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of our seafarers during the pandemic.

At 12:00 local times, all 55 DFDS ships will sound their horns to celebrate and recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by seafarers during the Covid-19 crisis.

“This beautiful token of appreciation was initiated by the International Chamber of Shipping and promoted by the national shipowners associations. At DFDS, we are depending on the commitment and support of our seafarers no less than other shipping companies, and we are really grateful for the work they have done throughout the Covid-19 crisis to keep our ships sailing and support our customers,” says Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, EVP and Chief People Officer.

Thomas Mørk, VP and Head of DFDS’ Technical Organisation, says: “We have informed our 55 ships about this and hope they will all support it by sounding their horns at 12:00 local time – wherever they are at this time. This also goes for our laid-up ships that will then naturally be in port on 1 May.”

“We hope some of the crew members will record the event on a video and send it to Group Communications so we can all enjoy it afterwards,” says Anne-Christine.

Please send it to

Kurt Krøigaard’s 25th anniversary

On 29 April 2020 Electrician Kurt Krøigaard, m.s. ARK DANIA, will celebrate his 25th anniversary.

Kurt is affiliated to Ark Dania, but he has been associated with various projects over time, including building ships.

Kurt knows how to do the part beyond the ordinary – both compassionately and professionally.

Many congratulations Kurt. We hope you will have a good day.

By Tom Møller, Senior Advisor.

Danish temporary leave extended to 8 July

With the Danish government’s extension of the coronavirus aid package, colleagues on temporary leave will remain on leave until 8 July, unless they are called back to work before.

The Danish Government has extended the support for temporary leave from 9 June to 8 July.

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer and Head of the People Division says: “The coronavirus crisis continues to take its toll on DFDS’ business, and therefore we will also take advantage of the extended aid package. This means that everyone in Denmark who was originally sent on temporary leave until 9 June, will remain on leave until 8 July. Today, we have sent a letter to everyone on temporary leave to explain this and remind them that they should also be prepared to be called back to work at short notice if the situation were to change before 8 July.

“We are pleased with the extension as it helps protect our business for a longer time and increases our chances of getting through the coronavirus crisis in better shape.”

“We are aware that it may not necessarily be seen as a good thing for those of you who are on temporary leave as you would probably prefer to take part in the work to bring DFDS through this. However, the ability to send people on temporary leave and keep costs down  is vital to our chances of bringing DFDS safely through this situation – as are the temporary leave aid packages in the other countries.”

“In spite of this, I can’t wait to see the coronavirus crisis wear off and colleagues coming back to work,” she says.

Currently, DFDS has nearly 2500 people on temporary leave in total.

Jens Benkjer’s 25th anniversary

Jens Benkjer in the middle

On 18 April, Jens Benkjer, Chief Engineer, can celebrate 25 years with DFDS.

Jens has the DFDS spirit in him, hardworking and doesn’t give up on challenges. He is mechanical, technical, professional, social and contributes to a great comradeship with his colleagues.

After some time at the Danish Dannebrog Shipping Company, Jens started his DFDS career sailing between the Caribbean, the American East coast and the Mediterranean. Jens’ first ship with DFDS was Dana Hafnia in 1995, since then a lot of vessels have been added to the list including Dana Cimbria, Minerva, Princess of Scandinavia, Princess of Norway, Britannia, Anglia, Selandia and Suecia.

Jens loves to share his knowledge whether it’s about his career as a sailor, his craftsmanship as a scout or his experience as a father. He loves the life on sea but always looks forward to returning home to his wife, Antje, and two adult children. When he is at home, he enjoys gardening work, fine tuning his motorcycle and polishing, Diesella, his moped from the early the 1960’s.

The impact from Svendborg’s maritime environment, where he graduated, is still with him to this day and he is not afraid to show up in uniform when it is time for the annual showing of the Danish movie, Martha.

Jens must be highlighted for his exceptional performance during the fire on board Britannia Seaways in 2013, where he worked hard to keep vital parts of the machinery functional.

Jens is a great colleague and an experienced sailor. He always finds and greets the ‘Employee of the month’ with diploma and salutes played on his trumpet.

Jens greeting Britannia with a trumpet salute

Throughout the years, Jens has mastered the art of long descriptive emails with detailed explanations when the Superintendent needs reports. Some of his colleagues just use the emails as literature before falling asleep.

He loves the food cooked by the chef both at work and at home. When it is Christmas, he always prepares the Christmas liver paste, and the Christmas lights in his eyes turns on if it is served with a good bearnaise.

Congratulations with the anniversary. We look forward to the celebration on board Suecia Seaways as well as the reception at Vester Skerninge Kro on a later date.

DFDS charters flight to bring crew home

Yesterday we moved into a whole other element as we chartered a flight between Rotterdam and Palanga (Lithuania) in order to replace the crews on board both Tulipa Seaways and Gardenia Seaways.

Many of us are now working from home and it seems that people are now looking forward to be able to go to work at the office. For our Lithuanian crews on board Tulipa Seaways and Gardenia Seaways, the situation was definitely opposite. Located in Rotterdam, their wish to come home and see their families had grown strong after up to 8 weeks on board the ferries.

Jonas Nazarovas, Managing Director in Klaipeda, says: ”With airports and borders closing, and the uncertainty if other options such as busses and ferries were possible at all, the opportunities to travel back to Lithuania were very limited.

“I contacted Pernille Hüls Dyrmose, Head of Procurement, for support with chartering a flight. We managed to book a flight for yesterday which transported approximately 40 new crew members from Palanga to Rotterdam and the same amount of crew members from Rotterdam to Palanga. This flight was the only flight leaving Lithuania on Monday 6 April. “

Prior to take-off, Jonas was approached by the Lithuanian government which had a Lithuanian student who had lost all hope of getting home from Rotterdam. DFDS was asked if she could get on the flight, and we were of course happy to help. All safety measures were met with everyone wearing facemasks and sitting with plenty of space between each other on board the plane.

“The whole operation went great. The crew and the student were very pleased to get home to their families. A very big thank you to Pernille and Procurement for their support” Jonas says.

Changing the guard in Insurance

Kim Chalmer, General Manager, Group Insurance, has decided to retire from DFDS at the end of the year.

“After more than seven years at DFDS and as I am about to reach 60, the time has come for me to change the balance between work and other interests, with more focus on the latter,” says Kim.  “It wasn’t at all an easy decision to make, as it has been a true pleasure knowing and working with all of you, at sea and ashore, whether on more routine matters, challenging insurance renewals or serious incidents.

“It is still too early to say goodbye as I will be around until 31 December. I look forward to gradually handing over responsibility to Sisse, and ensuring a smooth transition together with her, and Mila and Martin from the department.”

Ole Færge, VP of Legal and Insurance, says: “Although I understand Kim’s personal priorities, he will certainly be missed. He has done a fantastic job as head of our insurance department, and used his professionalism and deep understanding of the insurance market with an already excellent team when he came to DFDS from Maersk. However, let us wait with expressing all our thanks until nearer his departure.”

Sisse Friis Nilaus will replace Kim Chalmer
Luckily, Legal and Insurance already had the best possible replacement for Kim on hand. Sisse Friis Nilaus (43), legal counsel in the department, will take over the responsibility for Group Insurance after Kim leaves. She will continue to report to Ole.

Ole says: “Sisse is an obvious choice for several reasons. She has done a great job as legal counsel at DFDS since 2014, and has developed a comprehensive understanding of our business, also through her participation in the current Horizon program, as well as an impressive network throughout the company. In addition, she added marine insurance studies to her CV when studying maritime law in the UK, after graduating from the University of Copenhagen.”

Sisse says: “I am very excited about this opportunity. I used to work with transport insurances at the law firm I worked for previously, and my job as legal counsel in DFDS is very much about balancing risk against commercial requirements. Experience that is useful also in the new role – even if I will still be up for a steep learning curve. I look forward to working with the experienced team in Group Insurance to continue ensuring that DFDS has adequate insurance coverage and smooth claims procedures and I will strive to cooperate closely with the business to accomplish that.”

Ole adds: “I would like to congratulate Sisse on her future role. Many people at DFDS already know her well, not least at DFDS House where she is a driving force behind DFDS Moves, and I am confident you will all support her in her new role.”

Anders Refsgaard turns 50

There will be no major celebration when Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic, turns 50 on 26 March. The covid-19 crisis has put a stop to that.

But we can celebrate it here – and we will, as Anders is a very good example of how far a clever trainee can take it. He joined DFDS on 1 August 1990, at the age of 20, as a shipping trainee in Århus, Denmark, after which he was quickly employed in Peder Gellert’s Baltic business. And if Anders isn’t satisfied with working with the Baltics, he can certainly blame Peder who sent him to Lithuania where he lived while working as an Area Manager contributing to building DFDS’ network in the Baltic region.

And even though he left DFDS for a job at ferry company Scandlines in 1997, DFDS had not forgotten him, and so, after a meeting with Peder, Anders returned to DFDS and the Baltic in 2003.

From 2006 to 2009, he was Managing Director of DFDS Lisco – now DFDS Seaways – in Lithuania. He lived there with his family until 2009, when he returned to DFDS House to become Vice President and Head of BU Baltic when the new structure was launched following the acquisition of Norfokline.

Peder Gellert, EVP, says: “Anders has a very big stake in our success with building a strong business in the Baltic, as he has a unique combination of business talent, strategic understanding  and social skills – he understands people and quickly gains their trust. This – and great networking skills – have also made Anders extremely good at spotting and selecting leaders from his organisation and other places at DFDS. I am very pleased that we got Anders into the Baltic business in 2003.   Congratulations to you, Anders.”

Congratulations also from the rest of us to Anders with his birthday, which he will most likely celebrate with few other people than his wife Lene and his son Bertil until the world is again out of the Covid-19 misère.

Eva Nilsson retires after 50 years in Port of Gothenburg

Eva Nilsson will retire after a long and devoted career in the port. She started out as a switch-board operator in the summer of 1969. Just like the song by Bryan Adams, she is still like music to work with!

Eva has been a part of the Port of Gothenburg for more than 50 years and has taken many opportunities to contribute to its success. She has held positions in HR, office administration and technical departments.

In 1990 she became a proud mother and after two kids she returned in 1994. She then met new challenges in purchasing and mobile communications. In 2010 she moved to the part of the port which DFDS now controls through a concession agreement. Since then her responsibilities also included protective clothing and a small on-site boutique, which is now a popular web portal.

Eva is always very thoughtful and one step ahead, solving problems before we even knew they existed! Still with a curious mindset, like she’s fresh out of school, we are sure she will embrace retirement with her warm smile and handle her grandchildren just as well as she has handled us.


On behalf of the staff at Port of Gothenburg: We will miss you – good luck, Eva!

Mats Nilsson, Finance Manager, Gothenburg

Covid-19: Headquarter adapts workforce to pandemic

The temporary reduction of passenger and freight activities reduce certain headquarter activities and therefore some colleagues will be sent on paid temporary leave.

Travel restrictions and other measures that aim to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, have dramatically reduced our passenger services and are also beginning to impact our freight activities.

Due to suspended routes and reduced on-board services, colleagues at sea and ashore have been or are being sent on paid temporary leave.

This is possible due to the national aid packages that aim to ensure that companies like DFDS can better adapt their costs to the situation, maintain employment and be ready to regain activities and welcome people back as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Obviously, the lower activity level affects our headquarter functions as well. Therefore, from tomorrow, we will also start sending headquarter staff on paid temporary leave.

If you are among the 50 colleagues included, you will be informed about it today by your manager, and it is very important for me to underline the obvious: It has nothing to do with your performance. On the contrary, in the Executive Management Team and the Board, we are extremely impressed with your work and behaviour throughout the crisis. It is solely a measure to reduce our costs in the affected areas so we can get through the crisis in good shape and continue as a great place to work. In fact, we can’t wait to welcome you back and get business back to speed again.

In line with EMT measures

In general, we will follow the measures which we informed about last week.

This means that we will reduce functions that have been heavily impacted by the reduced operational activity level but keep focusing on delivering on strategic projects that are long term business critical. This includes projects such as the ERP project, DFDS Direct, the climate challenge, CSR and other strategic initiatives.

We are closely monitoring the situation and believe that, with these measures and your help, we will get DFDS well through this crisis – and we will maintain our fantastic teams that are our best guarantee for quickly regaining our strength and business.

On behalf of the Executive Management Team

Torben Carlsen

Annabelle Vallance wins talent award

When it was time to celebrate emerging business talents in the Humber region, it came as no surprise that the spotlight landed on one of our very own colleagues, Annabelle Vallance, HR Manager. With her positive aura and work within HR, she has been recognised with a well-deserved winning spot on the Hull & Humber Top 30 Under 30 list.

Annabelle says: “In the midst of the madness, I am honoured to be involved in this. Thank you to DFDS for nominating me. I would also like to thank all of my lovely supportive colleagues and team. Without you I wouldn’t be the best I could possibly be. I can’t wait to get started!”

Together with the other 29 winners, Annabelle will attend a 12-month programme that will include management training.

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, EVP and Head of People Division, says: “I want to congratulate Annabelle on this great recognition. One of the many factors contributing to this is her engagement and management of our UK Graduate programme that has supported many talented candidates in their career, so winning an opportunity to further develop her own talent is quite fitting.”

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

Inspiration: How to work efficiently from home

With the measures we are currently taking in regards to Covic-19, see this list of inspiration for how to work efficiently from home


For most of us this is the first time we will have to work from home for a longer period, which means we must figure out how to deliver on our tasks in a new environment and how to keep up self-motivation and engagement.
Below, we have gathered some inspiration from other companies and experts on tips for staying engaged and productive while you are working from home.

• The key to successfully working from home is clear communication with your leader and knowing exactly what’s expected of you and the team. So, define clear deliverable and agree on a plan for collaboration and connection within the team. This could be a team call to kick off the day and wrap up the day. Also make team priorities accessible and visible.

• Working from home can feel unstructured and isolating. You may feel you are losing touch with what your colleagues are doing. Consider arranging quick 10-15 min Skype check-ins with the people you collaborate with and touch both on social and professional subjects.

• If you don’t have a home office, do as much as you can to create an ad hoc space exclusively for work. Also, you will likely not be alone at home. Consider agreeing on several periods during the day with your family or cohabitants where you are without disturbance to be able to focus.

• Be mindful of ergonomics considerations like desk, chair, lightning, mouse etc. Move around physically when possible.

• Take a break. You don’t work eight hours straight in the office – there are coffee breaks, lunch walks and chats with colleagues that give some respite from work. When working from home, you are entitled to the same breathers. Just make sure you communicate when and how you are available, and establish scheduled check-ins and meetings.

• Be aware of your mental well-being and team bonding. Maybe find someone you can connect with when you’re feeling the need to chat with someone.

• Establish a routine, including non-working hours. You can end up working 24/7. Try to start work around the same time every day if you can and schedule breaks (including meals) around the same time if possible. Try to get some outdoor time once a day, to get coffee or walk the dog.


Thank you to our Chairman Claus Hemmingsen for the inspiration
Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer

Thomas Castenschiold accepts job outside DFDS

Thomas Castenschiold has accepted a job outside DFDS. Logistics CFO Anne Rømer gives thanks and also introduces a new team member.


Senior Business Controller Thomas Castenschiold has accepted a new position outside DFDS and will be leaving DFDS at the end of March.

Anne Rømer, CFO of Logistics, says: “We have been very lucky to have had Thomas in the Divisional Finance team for close to four years, where he has had a very important role in improving transparency and quality in our financial reporting.

“Thomas will be missed by everyone as a very helpful and knowledgeable colleague. Please join me in wishing Thomas good luck with his new ventures.”

Thomas says: “It has not been an easy decision to leave. DFDS is a great workplace and I have really appreciated all you great colleagues. I have been part of a fantastic Divisional Finance team and it has, among other, been a good experience to take part in the promising journey, growing the finance business partner network within Logistics. I have enjoyed good cooperation in the broad span of stakeholders within Logistics as well as with Ferry and Group functions. I am now moving on to a finance business partnering role as director in the Danish company, Demant.”

New Business Controller joins the team

Anne says: “We have just welcomed Said Guraieb who started Monday 9 March as business controller. Said is a graduate from Copenhagen Business School and is coming from a position as Business Controller at DuPont Denmark. Please also join me in welcoming Said to DFDS.”