New HQ: Glass façade almost done

Last time we shared news about the construction of our new headquarters in Copenhagen, it was just a raw building. During the last few months, the construction crew has installed the glass façade and it really makes the building come to life. We can finally get a good impression of what the building will look like. The final design of the building draws its inspiration from the structure of a cruise ferry and will also resemble one moored in port. The final touch to the façade is being carried out now to complete the ‘wavy’ effect.

Henrik Svane, Head of Facility Management, says: “Ventilation and cooling systems are now being installed and as you can see from the pictures, a lot of the technical installations will be placed on the roof together with solar panels.  

“We are still working hard to finalise various functionalities and other decisions regarding the activities and operations in the building. Everything is going as planned and we are still looking to move in at the start of 2022.

On deck
s 6 and 7 there will be terraces that you can see on the right of the building. There will be staircases going from deck 2 to deck 7, combining the eastern part of the building heading towards the vessels. 

Covid-19 dictates our way of working at HQ

Following the national guidelines in Denmark on gradually re-opening society, home working colleagues in our headquarter were called back to work from 12 May. Many colleagues are excited to be back and resume interactions with others; others have expressed natural concerns about working in an office during a pandemic. We have asked Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, Chief People Officer, about DFDS’ way of handling this unusual situation.

Question: Why were homeworking colleagues called back to work at DFDS House or Harbour House at relatively short notice?

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel: During a pandemic, governments introduce measures that apply almost instantly or the next day, requiring companies like DFDS to make quick decisions and manoeuvre quickly to comply with local governments’ recommendations. Therefore, we had already early in the planning process made people aware that one should expect to be called back at very short notice, after working from home or being on temporary leave.

When we asked people to return to office as of Tuesday 12 May, it was based on the Danish Government’s announcement after the end of the working week. Michael Sandberg and the HR Operations team worked quickly over the weekend, to prepare the return and communicate it to managers and on the Bridge in order to be ready for Tuesday 12 May. Judging from the first days after the change, it seems that most people are happy to be back and resume their interactions with colleagues, even if some people have had to make adjustments at home to ensure balance between e.g. opening hours in day care and being back in the office. Within the guidelines, we have left flexibility for the local managers to help people adjust.

But didn’t homeworking work well?

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel Yes, homeworking worked very well and in general, in the EMT, we have been very impressed by how quickly people in the organisation have adapted to a completely new and unexpected situation. With that being said, we were keen to also contribute to getting our society ‘back to normal’ as much as possible, with due respect and consideration to the general safety guidelines in Denmark. Not everyone thrives working alone, we don’t have the same equipment at home as we do in the office, and together with our colleagues, we are just more dynamic, creative and productive. That is the essence of working in a knowledge-based and development-focused organisation like ours. And we need all our combined skills and creativity to ensure DFDS is in the best possible position both now and when the crisis ends.

Concerns have been raised about the risk of bringing many people together when the pandemic is still going on?

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel: I fully understand that there are such concerns, and if you have concerns you should of course raise it with HR ADMIN or Michael Sandberg. However, we have introduced very thorough measures that are more than complying with the national guidelines. Michael Sandberg and his team have done a great job over the holidays to prepare HQ to receive you back in the safest possible manner.  Cleaning procedures have increased, all touch points (coffee machines, elevators, restrooms, door handles, desks etc.) are cleaned numerous times a day. Workstations and seats in the canteen have been counted and limited to ensure safety distance – which is why you are still required to work from home one or more days per week. In addition to the above, we also have full confidence that each and every one of us will bring with us the safety behaviours that we have learned in the past months and apply outside DFDS, when we get back to work in the office.

I am confident that you are all aware of the WHO guidelines on how you can avoid spreading the virus or reduce the risk of contracting it through your personal behaviour.

If you are in a special situation, or have concerns that are unanswered here, please do not hesitate to ask your manager or place your question or concerns in the comments field under this interview.

With that, let me say on behalf of the entire Executive Management that it has been really great to see you who worked from home until now back at the head office, and the buildings full of life again.

HQ: Basement and first-floor completed

Throughout March and April, observant colleagues have really seen our new headquarters take shape.

Henrik Svane, Head of Facility Management & HR Administration, says ”Construction continues as planned and the basement and first-floor are among the work completed with both sealed off now. Prior to the seal off, necessary installations, such as floor heating in the basement, were finished. In addition, the establishing of the second floor was started which will be the lowest floor with office space.”

“The construction crew plans to establish and seal off one floor every month and expects the shell of the building to stand ready primo July.”

Watch the timelapse video from March and April.

Drone photos taken by Swedish construction company, NCC, who is responsible for the construction of our HQ. 

Thank you to Emil Christiansen for sharing the picture.

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

Blue Saturday

On Saturday, the sun was shining at its best on Copenhagen, and despite the pandemic, people were enjoying the day by going for a walk or, like our freelance photographer, taking a bike trip around the port. This resulted in this amazing picture of blue ships under a blue sky.

In fact, it was almost a historic event, as the picture shows all three ships calling at Port of Copenhagen at the same time. “This is highly unusual, and due only to the fact that DFDS has suspended the Copenhagen ‒ Oslo route, and laid up both ships in Copenhagen. I happened to be there just as ARK Futura was in port on one of her two-three weekly calls on the still very busy Klaipėda ‒ Copenhagen ‒ Fredericia freight route,” says the photographer. He should know, as he is also Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division.

“The tranquillity of the scene was astonishing, given what had been going on before the route was suspended, and how much work was involved in implementing the suspension and laying up the ships. So thank you to everyone who was involved in this for the Copenhagen ‒ Oslo and Amsterdam  ‒ Newcastle routes. In fact, thank you to everyone in our passenger business for working day and night to take care of our passengers and adapt our services to the situation. Thank you also to everyone in the Division’s freight services, where people are working hard to continue service to our customers, and ensuring that we do our part in keeping the supply chains running and the supermarkets supplied with food and other goods.”

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

HQ: Basement walled and moulded

The new Copenhagen HQ is progressing fast, and construction company NCC have just finished walling and moulding the basement.


Progress is fast at the Copenhagen HQ under construction.

Today on 6 March the builders finished the moulding of the basement, and Michael Sandberg, Head of HR Operations, was there to take pictures for us.

“The basement is now walled and moulded, a big milestone in such a massive construction project,” says Michael.

“Before the ‘lid’ was put on the basement, all the heavy electrical equipment was lowered into position. Above ground level the shell of the house will now be built, and you can look forward to more updates and pictures from us showing those floors go up.”

New HQ: One floor every month

The development of our new Headquarters in Copenhagen is progressing well. During January and February, the crew finished preparing the ground for construction, laid a solid foundation for the building, placed posts to prepare for the upcoming floors and started to establish the basement. In next week the basement ceiling will be installed in addition to the placement of central heating in the basement.

Michael Sandberg, Head of HR Operations, says: “We are keeping up with the schedule and plan to install a new floor every month with the body of the building expected to stand ready in week 27. Seeing how things are progressing, it won’t take too long before our colleagues and local observers can get a better impression of the building’s scale.”

Please enjoy the fantastic drone photos and the new timelapse video covering the development throughout January and February. Thank you to NCC for sharing with us.

Drone photos from 9 January

Drone photos from 21 February

Timelapse video during January and February

New HQ will be certified Gold for sustainable building

In 2022, our new headquarters in Copenhagen will stand ready for occupancy. The building will be owned by PensionDanmark with DFDS as contractual user.

PensionDanmark(PD) has very elaborate requirements for their sustainable building and construction projects. They must all be future proofed through flexible and high-quality solutions as well as low maintenance cost and energy consumption. To uphold and ensure the contribution to a sustainable future, all PD projects are required to be certified Gold in accordance with the DGNB certification system (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen, German Sustainable Building Council in English). Our new Headquarters in Copenhagen will be certified Gold.

Michael Sandberg, Head of HR Operations, says: “The DGNB system makes sustainable construction applicable and measurable on a practical level making it comparable. It follows a scoring system that assesses ecological, economical and sociocultural factors. To achieve Gold, a lot of factors are planned into the process compared to the construction of a building complying with present building regulations. The DGNB system therefore works like a optimisation tool to ensure a thorough process regarding everything from planning, construction and actual use.”

Assessments of the DGNB score system revolve around these core sustainability factors.

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “I am very happy that we, together with PensionDanmark, NCC and PLH Architects, can showcase a construction process and a building in 2022, that will be in line with our CSR strategy leading towards reducing our environmental footprint and being a caring employer.

For example, all materials are produced under proper working conditions and are selected with consideration for environmental impact, low degassing and whether they can be recycled.

Being a good neighbor
“The process criteria also ensure the construction site is maintained properly, where dust, noise and vibrations are handled sensibly for the benefit of the neighbors and construction workers. It is NCC that runs the site where resident’s meetings are also conducted to inform the local community about the construction. We are equally happy to see that NCC also accepted several apprenticeships to help with the construction showing support for the educational development within our society,” says Sofie.

Efficient maintenance and operation
“Factors like energy, indoor climate, waste, use of utility water, climate proofing and the measurement of consumption are all incorporated early in the planning, so that all parameters interplay and do not conflict with one another. For example, we ensure a low energy consumption by keeping out heat from the sun via solid isolation, automatic window blinds, window filters as well as an air condition system with very low air velocity. Solar panels on the roof and a bio tank that will produce biogas from leftover food will also contribute to generation of energy.”

The setting for a great workplace
“With an open café on the ground floor, terraces in front of the canteen, fitness area in the basement and a lot of meeting rooms in different sizes, there will be plenty of room to socialize and contribute to a good work environment. All this with great acoustic conditions via various décor to diffuse sound and the installation of silencing windows.”

These are just some of the very few examples of the sustainable initiatives, however, the Gold certification only ensures the right setting for a sustainable building and workplace. We have the responsibility to carry on this approach and ensure that we also incorporate high levels of sustainability when we design our way of working within the building. How we can behave and what initiatives will be available in order to achieve this will be touched upon on the Bridge at a later stage.”

Power-to-X conference on board Pearl Seaways

Key players in industry joined DFDS to discuss green shipping fuels


Power-to-X is about finding the synergies and creating the scale for turning green electricity into affordable fuel for the shipping industry.

For this purpose, shipping companies, the energy sector, and dozens of other experts joined DFDS in a conference on board Pearl Seaways in Copenhagen harbour on 30 January.

When we announced the conference last month, Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at DFDS, explained what we aim to do with key players such as Maersk, Ørsted, Siemens A/S, Danish Ship Finance and Dansk Energi.

DFDS’ CFO Karina Deacon introduced the conference with some important words: “Over the next six hours you will be discussing solutions for a green transition for shipping. You are gathered here today to do something about it. Those solutions will be necessary for us to renew the maritime and maritime supply industries. We need to become climate friendly to stay relevant in the future, to maintain our businesses and the many jobs we provide.”

Why ammonia is so interesting

“Ammonia can be made from air, water and green electricity. It doesn’t add CO2 to the atmosphere when burned, and power-to-ammonia can be done with high total energy efficiency. Yes, it is toxic and smelly, requiring dedicated precautions, but there is so much potential in this carbon-free molecule as a fuel, that we must take this potential pathway very seriously,” says Tue Johannesen, Senior Innovation Portfolio Manager at Maersk.

Ammonia is already developed to a practical state that can be used by ships, with the three related factors of cost, scale and demand recognised as the key drivers by the conference speakers. Converting green energy such as wind power into hydrogen and ammonia is a viable way of achieving the scale, where costs become viable for industry.

It’s also a chicken and egg situation in terms of what comes first, the demand for the fuel from the industry, or the fuel provided by the energy sector.

Jakob Steffensen said: “The biggest issue is the price gap between black and green energy – it’s much easier to go green if the two meet. We need to learn fast in order to make the right strategic decisions. That’s why this day is all about partnerships, so we can share knowledge, discuss the barriers we need to cross, and drive innovation together.”

DFDS and Karina Deacon thanked the day’s participants: “We owe you our gratitude for being here today. Thank you for sharing your technologies, knowledge and experiences.”

The day brought us great insight from the speakers, with difficult questions and lively discussions throughout. Pearl Seaways provided a great venue, many thanks to the staff on board for hosting all our guests.

Anders Nordstrøm, VP and Head of Hydrogen at Ørsted

Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation & Partnerships at DFDS

Claus Møller, CEO at Siemens A/S and Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Majbrit Hoppe, Business Developer at Funen’s Maritime Cluster

Foundation stone-laying for the new HQ

Today is a very special day for DFDS. The construction of our new headquarters officially started at the foundation stone-laying ceremony in Copenhagen.

Marius Møller, Director of PensionDanmark, welcomed guests and presented the speakers: Torben Carlsen; Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen; Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark; Søren Mølbak, Director, PLH Architects; and Martin Manthorpe, Director, NCC.

Torben spoke about the aim for our new headquarters: a place with room for everyone; an all-embracing workplace, designed to bring people together, as is only natural for an increasingly international, diverse workplace with 700 employees from 40 countries.

“It needs to provide a framework that inspires collaboration and helps to break down boundaries between people and disciplines. A place where experienced employees and the children of a new and digital age can all thrive and be inspired by innovation and development. Therefore, the move from DFDS House to the new headquarters will be more than a journey of 800 metres between the current and the future office. It will be a cultural journey that sets the course for the future of DFDS,” said Torben Carlsen.

After the final speech, a time capsule was buried in a steel box that later will be placed into the foundations. The capsule contains objects from each speaker, and symbolises the year when construction started. Torben contributed a DFDS route map, pictures of Hollandia Seaways and a DFDS truck, representing our core services, and a letter to the future describing DFDS in 2020 and the issues that we are focusing on. You can read the letter here by clicking here.

A big thank you to our colleagues who sent in suggestions, and to Group Marketing for the design.

From left: Torben Möger Pedersen, Frank Jensen and Torben Carlsen about to put the time capsule into a steel box.

Frank Jensen and Torben Carlsen ready with the trowel.

Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of Logistics Division; Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, EVP and Chief People Officer; and Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of Ferry Division, were also present at the ceremony to see the start of their future workplace.

Time-lapse video from the construction site

A few months have gone by since the construction crew started to prepare the site for the construction of our new Headquarters. We have just received a time-lapse video from NCC showing the past months progress. Please enjoy.

Michael Sandberg, Head of HR Operations, says “During the filming period, the crew have cleared the ground and removed nearly 800 hundred damaged and obsolete tree trunks out of the ground as well as sheets of concrete. Sheet pile walls and piles were also driven into the ground to provide earth retention and excavation support and to support the foundations of the building.”

Additionally, they have lowered the ground water to stabilize the ground and prevent heaving. It is done by reducing the inflow of water from the ground at a faster rate than recharge can occur which meant that they had to prevent 500 cubic meters water from overflowing the site per hour.”

New HQ construction site takes shape

Recent picture taken just last Tuesday by Michael Sandberg

A lot of earth, water and trees are on the agenda for the construction crew building our new headquarters, however as the year nears an end, so does the excavation and keen observers will soon be able to see the beginning of the construction of our new headquarters take shape.

Michael Sandberg, Project Director, says “Everything is going according to plan and as you can see on the pictures, the preparation of the construction site is progressing well with visible changes in just three weeks difference. NCC has established a very sustainable site where they for example focus on minimizing waste from the construction, use sustainable materials that affects the environment as little as possible and putting up energy-efficient containers with solar-panels.”

“So far, the construction crew have done a lot of excavation to clear the ground and demolish the old foundation of ‘Det Danske Kulkompagni” or the Danish Coal Company.
The preparation of the ground is quite an extensive task and not just a lot of digging. During the excavation, they have removed nearly 600 hundred damaged and obsolete tree trunks out of the ground, while preventing 500 cubic meters water from overflowing the excavation per hour. Recently sheet pile walls and piles were driven into the ground to provide earth retention and excavation support and to support the foundations of the building.”

“In next week, preparation for establishing the basement will start and in week 2, they will begin to cast the foundation” says Michael.

Project Manager Henrik Svane visiting the site while sheet pile walls are driven into the ground

Picture of the site taken 21 November

DFDS hosts ‘Future & Tech’ conference on board Pearl

Business Sales Nordic from BU Short Routes & Passenger offers conference and meeting services to companies and institutions on board our cruise ferries, Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways sailing on Copenhagen – Oslo.

Together with DBTA (Danish Business Travel Association) and the crew, they hosted a conference on board Pearl where the theme was ‘Future & Tech’. It included a packed programme of speakers with inspiring information, such as Amadeus (global booking system), American Express business travel, FCM Travel, Lufthansa Group as well as SAP Concur that were giving exciting talks on AI (Artificial Intelligence), Chatboots and basically the potential of the travel industry.

Henrik Møller, Strategic Sales & Key Account Manager, says: “Almost 90 corporate travel buyers and travel service providers attended the conference. The group of participants were rather impressed with the upgraded design and look of the terminal, as well as our disembarkation efficiency of offloading 1,150 passengers in just 10-15 minutes.

“At the Kick-off Coffee Session, which took place outside our Conference Auditorium, many participants said that they were further impressed with our conference facilities.”

Following the formal DBTA welcome speech, DFDS introduced our business on the Copenhagen – Oslo route that offers a great venue for conferences, kick-off meetings and events in a different and inspiring environment.

After the conclusion of the official programme, the Business Sales team gave all guests a guided tour around the ship to showcase the conference and meeting facilities on board. The Sales Team received a lot of positive feedback from the participants and the DBTA board, including 100 positive LinkedIn postings from the participants.

“We made a lot of new interesting sales opportunities and contacts during the conference, and I am excited to see what it can lead to going forward. The Business Sales DK Team consisting of Bente Poppelhøj Nielsen, Anders Christensen and myself, would like to give a huge thanks to all the staff on board Pearl, who did a fantastic, professional job to make this important key event such a success,” says Henrik.

DFDS and WeShelter celebrates 10-year anniversary

WeShelter is an organization that has been doing social work in Copenhagen since 1893. The organization runs numerous shelters in and around the city which provide vulnerable men and women living on the street with food, a safe place to sleep, psychological and medical consultations, and whenever possible, help them in the process of moving into their own housing.

This year, we welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and the gospel choir, Voice Zone, who have volunteered for us for the last couple of years. Lisa Larsen, General Manager at WeShelter, says that for many of WeShelter’s homeless, the DFDS Christmas lunch is a highlight of the season:

“Christmas time is a time where homelessness and loneliness can feel particularly difficult. Very few of the men and women who stay at our shelters have a family, and their network is often very small, so when the rest of us get together with our families over Christmas, the feeling of being an outsider in society intensifies. With this Christmas lunch, DFDS gives homeless and vulnerable people a fantastic day to look forward to – a day where they are the center of attention. It spreads so much joy to know that there are those out there who are thinking of them, a joy that can be felt throughout the year.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “I was at the Christmas lunch last year and feeling the great atmosphere as well as seeing the well-organized event really showed what great collaborations can achieve. Throughout the year, we contribute with a mini-cruise for every donation of 200 DKK donated to WeShelter and the Christmas lunch is a culmination of that cooperation. At DFDS, we have the ambition and the resources to act for the benefit of social responsibility and do good for the society and local communities – the 10-year anniversary of the Christmas lunch is a perfect example of that.

Pictures provided by WeShelter:

Future headquarters will create a fantastic DFDS setting

With its beautiful maritime appearance, and a fantastic location just beside our terminal, the new headquarters will be a signature building in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn.

PLH Arkitekter is behind the design of our new headquarters and, based on a great understanding of DFDS’ culture and the DFDS Way, the company has come up with a truly iconic design that will be the face of DFDS for many years to come.

Michael Sandberg, Project Director, says: “Our new head office will be 135m long, 17.7m wide and 26.9m high, and will consist of seven decks with two roof terraces on the top two decks. It will be able to accommodate 700 colleagues within its overall area of 15,500m2. With high requirements for environmentally-sound quality materials, indoor climate and energy savings, PLH Arkitekter has designed a building that is energy-efficient and sustainable.

“Inspired by the sea, the wavy facade gives movement to the building, perfectly expressing DFDS’ identity. The building is directly across from our terminal area for Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways, creating a fantastic setting that will establish a strong, unified DFDS presence in Copenhagen when it is completed no later than March 2022.”

It will not only offer colleagues the best possible working environment for a good, inspiring day, but it will also display an openness and transparency that will create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors from outside, who can enjoy a coffee in the café on the ground floor, for example. The physical surroundings will also be attractive to potential new colleagues.

This welcoming building supports a modern, activity-based working environment that offers opportunities to facilitate customer-oriented activities and events that contribute to a collaborative DFDS experience for employees, visitors and partners.

Win23 strategy kick-off to go local

The nearly 200 managers who participated at our Management Conference 2019 were part of the kick-off of our Win23 strategy. Now it’s time for everyone at DFDS to get involved. Win23 was at the very heart of the conference and at the first staff meeting in a group wide series of meetings that were held in DFDS House last Friday. Here Torben Carlsen informed about the conference including how the Win23 strategy can become a success.

“Win23 is extremely important for the future of everyone working at DFDS, and everyone working at DFDS is important for our ability to implement the strategy and create a future that benefits us all. More collaboration throughout our company is going to be key for success. By pulling together, we can create remarkable results that will make DFDS stronger for the benefit of us all,” says Torben.

The Win23 communication team will now distribute a short version of the presentation used in Copenhagen to local management to enable everyone to become more familiar with the Win23 implementation projects.

The Win23 communication team will also contact managers to offer assistance with adding local projects and issues to the presentation.

See a video of the staff meeting in Copenhagen about the Management Conference in DFDS House here.

See the video about Win23 here.

See the animation about Win23 Pillar B here.

DFDS House colleagues were invited to a staff meeting about the Executive Management Team’s Management Conference 2019

New Project Director for DFDS’ new headquarters

Michael Sandberg is the new Project Director reporting to a steering committee consisting of Torben Carlsen and future Chief People Officer, Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel

Planning, planning and more planning. Building a new headquarters is a complicated task that requires a lot of planning. Last week a big piece of the puzzle fell into place as the Swedish construction company NCC announced that they would be responsible for building it. And as the construction gradually speeds up, the task becomes a lot more challenging.

So far, Henrik Svane and his team, with the support of Sofie Hebeltoft, Morten Edvold, Frederik Fahrenholtz and Kasper Damgaard, have done a phenomenal job of preparing and planning the construction. However, additional resources are now required to ensure that DFDS is optimally guided and led through the construction process. Therefore, we have decided on a new structure for the project. Michael Sandberg will be the new Project Director, reporting to a steering committee consisting of Torben Carlsen and future Chief People Officer, Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel. Henrik Svane as Project Manager will report to Michael.

Michael Sandberg says: “I am very excited – but also humble – to contribute to a project that will influence DFDS for many years to come. Currently I am in the process of gathering a core group that can ensure that the building lives up to the clearly defined quality requirements of being future-proof and sustainable through flexible solutions with low maintenance and energy costs.

“The core group will have a number of dedicated teams responsible for tasks related to certain areas, e.g. CSR to ensure a healthy environment and sustainability and IT to influence the digital workplace. The involvement of colleagues all around DFDS House will ensure that the new headquarters will be a fantastic workplace for everyone. Major project planning is underway right now – including defining which teams are intended for the upcoming work.”

Torben Carlsen says: “The observant colleague may have noticed some changes at Marmormolen, and I am very excited to announce that early preparation of the ground for the construction has begun. I really look forward to the day when we can welcome our colleagues to the new headquarters. Michael will continue implementing the Price & Yield Initiative in the Ferry freight division as an important part of Win23”.

A dedicated site will soon be launched on the Bridge. It will keep you updated on the construction and will also offer information on the new headquarters’ many facilities.

Shore power in Copenhagen

Torben Carlsen and Barbara Scheel Agersnap, CEO of Copenhagen Malmö Port, sign a Letter of Intent about establishing a shore power connection in Copenhagen for our Oslo-Copenhagen ferries.

DFDS and Copenhagen Malmö Port (CMP) have signed a so-called Letter of Intent about shore power in Copenhagen. According to the agreement, CMP will invest in a shore based power connection that will enable the Copenhagen-Oslo ferries, Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways, to receive power from shore based plants.

An onshore power plant reduces emissions of air pollutants such as NOx, SOx and particles, which goes hand in hand with both CMP’s and DFDS’s ambitions to contribute to a greener Copenhagen.

Work on designing the plant is now starting, and construction is scheduled to start in 2020.

Pearl Seaways was refitted for this at the beginning of 2019, and is already receiving shore power in Oslo. Crown Seaways will follow at the beginning of 2020

“We are very pleased that it will now be possible to connect the vessels to a shore-power installation also in Copenhagen for the benefit of our neighbours in the city and the climate. We look forward to working with Copenhagen Malmö Port and the City of Copenhagen to secure a more sustainable ferry service between the two capitals in the future.  It is also very pleasing that we can thus benefit fully from the quite heavy investments in on-aboard equipment which we have made to prepare the ships for receiving shore power,” says Torben Carlsen.

Kim Heiberg, Route Director, says: “I am extremely pleased with this. We get daily questions from our passengers about what we do for the environment, and now we show in a very visible way that we care and do something about it. It has also been a wish among our neighbours in Copenhagen for a long time. So this is a good day for the route.”

Korean start-ups visit Copenhagen

We always welcome working with innovative and ambitious people from all over the world to continuously improve. That is why DFDS is very eager to collaborate with promising start-up companies as it combines our know-how and experience with fresh thinking and innovation from other areas, and it can in the end lead to strong partnerships.

This week at DFDS House in Copenhagen, DFDS hosted a pitching event for five different Korean start-ups from the maritime industry. Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation & Technology, facilitated the event and started by introducing the Koreans to DFDS and giving an insight into why it is important for DFDS to keep innovating. Afterwards the five start-up companies pitched their products, and the presentations were followed by feedback from Jakob, Jonas Als, Head of UX & Design, Lina Barsøe Rønn Christensen, naval architect, and Rune Jørgensen Daae, project superintendent.

Jakob says: “The start-ups did really well and presented their products with enthusiasm. It was great to their perspective and creative thinking which I was quite impressed by.”

“DFDS is excellent at managing and operating ships because we always look for new and inventive methods that can help us become even more efficient and environmentally friendly. Events such as this one are perfect to find out what is going on in the industry while keeping a look out for potential partnerships.”

Haedong Engineering presenting their developments of a buoyancy body that produces power using solar and wind power at sea

Jakob Steffensen and JJ&Companies Inc. talking about the start-up’s aquaculture automation technology

KOMACHINE introducing their machine industry online platform that connects
machine and spare parts suppliers in Korea with global buyers

Seadronix talked about their
AI-based anti-collision monitoring system for ships

Smart Ship Venture Technology giving insight into their blockchain-based Ship Management System

Reflections of a trainee chef

Sleeping under the night sky on Troy Seaways’ weather deck is something only a few can brag about. One who can is trainee chef Ann Cathrine Thorhauge Holm and if you recently dined on board Pearl on the Copenhagen – Oslo route there is a good chance that you have eaten food prepared by her.

Ann Cathrine started as a waiter two and a half years ago and switched to be a trainee chef last year. During her traineeship, she has cooked in the restaurants, learning different methods and work procedures while cooking anything from pastry to gourmet dishes. She was also on Troy Seaways’ maiden voyage. She and Jeppe Skjøde Knudsen, Chief Steward, cooked food for the whole crew of 25 while enjoying the spectacular viewpoints and different countries during the four-week voyage. With a strong willingness to continuously improve and the right mindset to take the opportunities that are presented, she fits just perfectly into the DFDS Way.

All the way from China to Turkey, Ann Cathrine and Jeppe Skjøde Knudsen cooked food for the entire crew of Troy Seaways 

Ann Cathrine says: “When given new challenges, my traineeship has taught me to think ‘I haven’t tried that before, but I probably can’. I would never have got so far in my personal development and taken giant steps out of my comfort zone if I hadn’t been a trainee chef at DFDS. This eagerness for experiences and the ‘can do’ attitude also made me enter a cooking competition in Dragør, which I originally thought I wasn’t good enough for, but here I am winning second place that I am really proud of.

Ann Cathrine at the cooking competition “En bid af Dragør” (in english; A bite of Dragør) where the task was to come up with a new interpretation of Fish & Chips

“Every day at work I learn a lot more than just cooking. I learn to transcend my own boundaries, take the opportunities that are thrown up, I have freedom with responsibility, and I have become more independent and adaptable. I also have a huge network of great colleagues who are always there for me if I have bad days and you simply cannot find this kind of community among colleagues unless you work at sea.
“I am sure that a combination of all that will make me a better chef in the end, both professionally and personally.” Ann Cathrine is set to conclude her traineeship next June.

“Being a chef can be quite tough and there will be bumps in the road, and times when you just want to give up. However it is such a fantastic feeling when you are doing well and sometimes when I have done a really great job and everything just succeeds, the only thing I can think is ‘How great it is to be a trainee chef and even more great that it is with DFDS’.”

A tribute to the community

This year’s Community Awards event was once again celebrated, with 250 festive guests gathered on the deck of Pearl Seaways for an afternoon of fun and celebration on Thursday

The sun slowly broke through the mellow skies as 10 community awards were presented with glowing hearts, heartfelt smiles and touching words. It was time for the yearly Community Awards on board Pearl Seaways in perfect surroundings and atmosphere for an afternoon filled with joy, laughter and caring love for society, communities and those who selflessly make an effort to help others and enhance community life in Denmark. An event which DFDS took part in bringing to life in 2014 with the current Danish Prime Minister and Leader of the Danish Social Democratic Party, Mette Frederiksen, together with other partners. And which Pearl Seaways has proudly hosted ever since.

The crew was well prepared as always and the guests were greeted on the sun deck with champagne and canapés creatively prepared by the skilled colleagues in the kitchen on board.

Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (right) handing over an award to Børnebuddies

The Minister for Children and Education, , opened the event by reminding everyone how important communities are and how they can make a lot of people feel included and valued. She presented one of the 10 awards to people in Denmark who have made an exceptional and selfless contribution to their communities. Read more about the 10 award winners in this article in Danish.

An entertaining afternoon of music and speeches went smoothly as Pearl made a round trip in the calm waters of Copenhagen harbour. The many guests noisily expressed their excitement with the ship, the service and, of course, the lovely and beautifully prepared food served on the trip.

“We are extremely honoured and thankful to be the chosen venue for this amazing event. It means a lot for us to be part of a celebration that recognises exceptional people as well as diversity. Once again it was a great experience and, true to form, the weather gods smiled on us, allowing us to host this beautiful event on the sun deck. I would like to thank everyone who helped make the event a success again this year,” says Brian Blixt Jacobsen, Commercial Head on board Pearl Seaways.


CSR workshop focused on sustainability in practice

In a workshop in late June, Incept Sustainability offered participants a new way of addressing sustainability that is closer to what the individual can do, with tools to find where initiatives are most needed and worthwhile.


In late June, Head of CSR Sofie Hebeltoft and start-up company Incept Sustainability invited DFDS employees to a workshop in Copenhagen about sustainability in practice for companies.

“Many people agree that sustainability is about doing our best for the environment, to use our resources efficiently and handle waste responsibly. It is, however, much more than that, and it makes a lot of sense to think of sustainability in the areas of ‘social‘, ‘economy‘ and ‘environment’, and this was presented in the workshop material,” says Sofie.

Organising sustainability issues into three areas and having 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals make it much easier to identify critical areas and possible initiatives. It is also perfect for discussion.

She adds: “By helping Incept with input and feedback on their teaching, we also gain insight into how a start-up approaches Corporate Social Responsibility. The tools provided in this workshop can point us towards sustainable practices aligned with our strategic direction.”

Christina Mørup, Senior Project Manager in Strategy & Consulting, participated in the workshop. “It was very interesting as it took us through the bigger picture of the global challenges ahead of us whilst also managing to put it into a context we could relate to personally,” she says.

Lina Barsøe, Naval Architect in Technical Organisation, adds: “It was nice that it was so constructive, and to picture how many small actions can add up to significant change, for example in how the ships are operated at DFDS.”

Case competition recruitment brings in two new hires to Strategy & Consulting

The recent case competition was an undisputed success, and now Strategy & Consulting adds two talented hires to their team, following a great setup and execution of the recruitment initiative and in-depth interviews. Meet Victor (left) and Johan.


Back in April you could read about the recruitment initiative to find the best new colleagues for Strategy & Consulting. That work has come to a fruitful conclusion with the hiring of Victor Skov and Johan Fritzemeier, who will no doubt become great additions to the department.

Victor Valdemar Seby Skov, 24.
Victor excels at strategy and moving between different fields and projects. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Finance & Strategic Management at Copenhagen Business School and has previously spent a semester in Hong Kong studying project management and supply chain management among other subjects. Victor was part of the winning team in the case competition and has already started as Junior Project Manager in Strategy & Consulting.

Johan Durup Fritzemeier, 28.
Johan is a hard worker who applies himself well under pressure. He possesses a determination that led him to pursue and succeed in Ironman competitions while studying full time and working on the side. For the past two years, he has been with the international consulting group COWI working as the lead on marine and terminal projects. He holds a master’s degree in Finance & International Business from Aarhus University. Johan will start as Project Manager in Strategy & Consulting in August.


With an impressive 117 candidates from the outset, the best were selected in the case competition, and even fewer made it to the final interviews. It was a team-driven effort to carry out all aspects of the recruitment process, and special credit goes to (from left) Nina, Ida, Morten, Christina and Andreas.


Head of Strategy & Consulting Filip Hermann says: “Victor and Johan have stood out in three key aspects. Firstly, they have proven themselves to be very capable in problem-solving, structuring tasks and critical thinking. Secondly, they have shown impressive academic and professional results. And lastly, they work well with the team and have demonstrated the soft skills necessary to listen, learn and reflect. With the case competition, we gained a special insight into their professional and personal strengths. We reached a complete consensus on the merits of Victor and Johan, and we are very happy to welcome them to the team.”

Filip invites other departments to borrow the concept for their own recruitment needs and adds: “Come and speak with us and hear what we’ve done. We have the concept ready and the cooperation with Talent Acquisition laid out. Together we can take responsibility for finding the best talents.”

“In Talent Acquisition we highly appreciate and applaud initiatives that support the attraction of new talent to the organisation. I would like to thank Strategy & Consulting for their initiative and the collaboration. It just goes to show the level of value creation we can generate when we collaborate across the business. I hope this will serve as best practice for similar arrangements in the future,” says Talent Acquisition Manager Alexander Kanto.