Posts

Newhaven – Dieppe schedule changes

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

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

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

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

DFDS suspends on-board services on UK – France routes

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 measures on the UK – France routes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seven Sisters fitted with scrubber

Seven Sisters at Fayard Shipyard, Denmark. Her sister ship, Côte d’Albatre, will follow soon. Thank you to Peter Therkildsen for sharing the photo.

Until 15 March, Seven Sisters will be at the Fayard Shipyard in Denmark, where she will be fitted with a scrubber. Côte d’Albatre is next in line for the same procedure. Both ferries should be back in operation on the Newhaven – Dieppe route on 1 May.

Allan Lind Grodin, Project Manager and Naval Architect, Newbuilding & Major Conversions, says: “The new scrubbers will significantly improve the air quality in the local communities, in line with our CSR strategy with a focus on our environmental footprint. In addition, the shipyard also carried out regular maintenance, and installed a ballast water treatment system very similar to the one on board Regina Seaways.”

The odd ones out
Some of you may be wondering why Seven Sisters and Côte d’Albatre are in yellow livery, and branded Transmanche Ferries. Even though the two ferries are operated by DFDS, the French Government owns them and the Newhaven – Dieppe service, which DFDS operates on their behalf.

The colour scheme actually belongs to the Corsica Ferries–Sardinia Ferries ferry company. When the former ferry company Transmanche Ferries needed a ferry to operate the route in 2001, they chartered the ferry, Sardinia Vera, from Corsica Ferries–Sardinia Ferries, and retained the current colour scheme while rebranding her with the “T” on the hull.

In 2006, when Transmanche Ferries ordered the two newbuildings, Seven Sisters and Côte d’Albatre, they naturally decided to go with the same look. Despite LD Lines and subsequently DFDS taking over the service, the look has remained the same since the ships left the shipyard, Barreras, in Spain.

French local officials visit Dieppe

The President of the Seine Maritime Department met Jean-Claude Charlo, Head of DFDS’ French organisation, and our other colleagues to discuss the route and Brexit.

 

On 14 January the President of the Seine Maritime Department, Bertrand Bellanger, visited our French colleagues in Dieppe. Jean-Claude Charlo, Head of DFDS’ French organisation, gave him a tour of our terminal, DFDS offices and the facilities in place at the port in anticipation of Brexit.

“Mr. Bellanger was satisfied to see that everything is in place and that Dieppe is Brexit-ready,” says Jean-Claude.

They discussed the challenges that Brexit may bring, but the topic of priority was the possible opportunities for the route. The visit was also an occasion to underline Bellanger’s support for the Dieppe – Newhaven route, operated under a concession contract with the SMPAT (Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de l’Activité Transmanche). Its newly nominated President, Alain Bazille, was also part of the visiting group of officials.

“It was a pleasure to receive Mr. Bellanger, Mr. Bazille and the others. It was also a unique opportunity to explain in detail the daily work of all our staff and the challenges we have every day. We thank everyone for their participation and the acknowledgements we received for our work and Brexit preparations,” Jean-Claude adds.

Refurbishment of the Newhaven terminal

M Lucas (SMPAT Managing Director), M Basille (county councillor), M Winckler (sub-prefect of Dieppe), M Smewing (NPP CEO and port manager) and Jean-Claude Charlo

On 23 September, the new passenger area in the Newhaven terminal was inaugurated. Newhaven Port & Properties (NPP), the Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de l’Activité Transmanche, French officials and DFDS French managers were at the opening.

Steff Goux of BU Short Routes & Passenger and Terminal Operations Supervisor in Newhaven says: “It’s only the beginning of the refurbishment of the port. NPP has struck hard from the start by granting us a magnificent tool to finally bring out our little port into the light as Newhaven has a lot to offer in this exciting, yet confusing, Brexit time.”

“Mr Smewing, the NPP CEO and port manager, started his duties at the same time as I did last December and I am extremely pleased with the joint effort he and NPP have made with DFDS and the dedication they show our company. Like the new layout of the terminal, I hope it’s only the beginning to increase business for our route. The contractor, Sovereign, is still working on the freight area where the restricted zone will be developed to help with checks needed after Brexit.”

In his speech, Jean-Claude Charlo, Head of the French organisation, thanked NPP and his team for their great cooperation, focusing on our customers’ needs and satisfaction.

 

The waiting area and children’s play area

 

Foot passenger control

 

Check-in area

BU Channel adds Newhaven – Dieppe route to Freight Ferry Alerts App

Digital and BU Channel are adding to the Freight Ferry Alerts App, and we will soon be offering this tool for both Dover and Newhaven – Dieppe routes. Pictured is Seven Sisters departing Newhaven.

 

DFDS is well known for going the extra mile, nautical and otherwise, for its customers. In general operations that takes many forms. One service we are very happy to offer is live service updates for our customers and their drivers with the Freight Ferry Alerts App, which will soon be supported for both the Dover and Newhaven – Dieppe routes.

From 13 May the app will become available for the Newhaven – Dieppe route as part of the ongoing development. Hasan Ünal, Product Owner in Digital, says: “Digital and all business units are working closer on app projects, with good results. For instance, a previous project added QR code-compatible check-in gates for freight drivers in terminals. Our long-term strategy is to create a DFDS app universe where we ensure a smooth, coherent and satisfying journey when engaging with DFDS services. We have established a product team in Digital with exciting projects on the way.”

Cheryl Hawes, Freight Customer Service Manager, Freight Sales, UK & EC, says: “This is great news that following the idea from our Dover route we will now be launching this for our customers on the Newhaven – Dieppe route. BU Channel have been working with Digital and external developers to expand on the success of this app that gives much needed information about real-time traffic situations, along with safety messages and marketing of USPs to our customers and their drivers, without hassle, confusion or delays in information. A special thanks go to Stephanie Hure and Stephanie Goux for supporting the swift implementation. This has been an excellent example of working together and where sharing best practice benefits our freight customers.”

Sean Potter, Ferry Divisional Head, Digital & Systems, adds: “We are always looking for ways to ease and improve the constant and necessary cooperation with our customers. One significant area we are focusing on is how, with a straightforward app, we can communicate very efficiently to ensure that our customers’ daily operations go smoothly on our vessels. I look forward to this type of customer communication being established in the near future across the rest of the Ferry Division network as part of our ongoing strategy with the Digital team towards development opportunities.”

Another welcome addition is Turkish language support on the app. You can read about the digitisation benefits of this app from an earlier article.

Demonstrations in France affecting our customers

Since 17 November, French citizens wearing yellow vests as a symbol of the French protests against higher fuel prices, taxes and showing purchasing power have been demonstrating by blockading important roundabouts, roads, hypermarkets and supermarkets all over France, as well as creating snail operations on motorways.

This means that in particular the road to Dieppe is partly blocked, and the situation is very difficult. “Our customers are currently experiencing major challenges in driving to our terminals, especially on our Dieppe – Newhaven route. Since the protests started, we have worked hard on helping our customers finding alternative routes, but it is really a difficult situation,” says Sébastien Douvry, Operations Director in BU Channel France.

Other areas in our route network are also affected, as Calais and Dunkerque Ports are experiencing similar challenges – but not as bad as in Dieppe though.

“We are of course cooperating with all relevant authorities in order to find solutions. The French government has made some proposals, which were unfortunately not sufficient. The difficulty of this situation is that no identified leaders from the government are open to discussing the situation, so we need to wait and see what Emmanuel Macron decides,” says Sébastien.

We all love a story with a happy ending…

Many thanks to Florence Brunel, Acquisition & Brand Marketing Specialist, for sharing this nice story with us all.

This wonderful story started on board our Dieppe – Newhaven ferry. While travelling back to Brighton, one of our little passengers, Lula, lost her cuddly toy. Lula’s mother contacted us the following day to ask if “Doudou” had been found and after a lot of searching, our crew finally managed to track him down on board. The Business Leader said that he would look after the toy until Lula could pick him up at Newhaven. Lula was terribly sad to be separated from her lifetime friend but to help her feel better, her mother and the crew decided to tell her a story about Doudou’s adventures on board the ship.
This is what the crew wrote for little Lula:

We found a little toy dog wandering on a big ferry boat, sad and unhappy. At first it was difficult to understand what he was saying but we listened very hard and he told us that his name was Doudou, that he had lost his family but most of all, he was missing his best friend Lula.

We said he must stay with us until his family came back and as we were short-staffed, we asked him to help on board. Being busy helped to keep him smiling and took his mind off his problems!

Doudou’s first job was in the kitchens. He was an immediate success and soon made friends with all the chefs. He cooked an excellent spaghetti bolognaise which was very popular with everyone!

We saw that he was very clever and reliable so we asked him to replace the storekeeper and he agreed. Very quickly, Doudou learned to drive the forklift truck and did a wonderful job. In spite of his smiling face, we all knew that Doudou felt sad and missed home, so we gave him lots of jobs to keep him occupied.

Doudou went to work in the cafeteria serving meals to passengers. Then he was asked to be cashier and to take money at the till.

He served drinks in the bar before moving to the Information Desk. Everything was going well until we received a message saying that his family had called and that Lula was very sad without him. He was overjoyed and very excited about seeing Lula again!

We talked about all his adventures and I thanked him for all his hard work. I was surprised when he rushed off to the shop and spent all his wages on sweets – I thought that he must be a very greedy dog and I told him not to make himself sick! He winked and said: “Don’t worry – the sweets are not for me! Lula loves sweets and I am going to share them with her.”

We think this is a wonderful story and Lula’s family is happy for us to share it with you!

We would like to say a massive thank you to all the services involved: the crew on board, the French Lost Property Team and staff at Dieppe and Newhaven for their assistance. Thanks to all of you, Lula has been reunited with her loyal friend.

 

 

Selfie Seaways bringing joy on Channel vessels

The creative team in Dover are always seeking new ways to increase customer satisfaction. The latest additions comprise a selfie vessel and binoculars for children.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: ”Our passengers have a lot of fun when having their photo taken on board Selfie Seaways. We have these on board all Channel vessels and in our ticket offices. Actually, this has been such a big success that we have now also placed orders for selfie vessels for Newcastle, IJmuiden, Newhaven and Dieppe. Thank you to Hawa Turner, Marketing Manager OBS, for creating the selfie stands for the ports and on board.

“We are also giving away children’s binoculars at check-in and encourage the kids with their parents to go around the ship and decks and share what they experience at sea. The children are very happy to get this free welcome gift.”

 

Comic book illustrators on board Côte d’Albâtre

A few days ago, the crew of Côte d’Albâtre, our ship on the Dieppe – Newhaven route, welcomed 30 comic book illustrators on board.

Florence Brunel, Acquisition and Brand Marketing Specialist, says: “It took more than six months to organise this festival so it was a great pleasure and honour to finally welcome all the illustrators and the more than 260 passengers who participated in this exciting and convivial event. Lots of pictures were taken, plenty of autographs were signed and all the passengers were really happy. An artist even offered us a drawing to give to all the children on board our ferries.”

 

Seven Sisters becomes wind farm sightseeing ship for a day

At DFDS we will go to great lengths to satisfy our customers and make them happy. Sometimes, that means taking our beloved vessels out of their usual route for a change of scenery, and to be of service for special events and occasions. This time, Seven Sisters, which operates on the Dieppe – Newhaven route on a daily basis, was the gathering point for the inauguration of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm near Newhaven Harbour.

The crew of Seven Sisters gave a warm welcome on board to Rampion’s 324 guests, consisting of main suppliers, customers and local politicians. They enjoyed the refreshments and delicious food served at this important event, while sailing on a three-hour trip around the wind farm.

Matthew Swanwick, Project Director at Rampion, says: “It was important for us to show gratitude to all our local stakeholders who were involved in making the wind farm happen, so it was fantastic to give them the chance to get a close-up of the result. On behalf of Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to DFDS and the crew of Seven Sisters for enabling a superb celebratory tour and offering excellent and friendly service. The trip was simply perfect!”

Jean-Christophe Dambrine, Head of Onboard Services, says: “It was a great success. Organisers and guests thanked the crew for their hospitality. I would like to congratulate the Seven Sisters team for this fantastic performance. The buffet in particular was very much appreciated.”

Technical problems in Port of Newhaven

Last Sunday, Seven Sisters was unable to dock in Port of Newhaven due to technical problems with the port docking mechanism.

“We had no other option than to turn Seven Sisters around and go back to Dieppe, which unfortunately meant that our customers had to see their destination get smaller and smaller. The guests were offered to stay on the ferry overnight in Dieppe, and in the afternoon bus trips to Calais were offered for those of our passengers who were unable to drive by themselves. From Calais they got on the ferry for Dover, from where another bus drive took them to Newhaven,” says Jean-Claude Charlo, Head of the French organisation in BU Channel.

“During the long journey, complimentary meals were served to our passengers. Our crew really did their best to find solutions and offer support wherever they could, and I would like to thank our colleagues on board and ashore in Newhaven and Dieppe for being flexible and doing their best to get our passengers to their destination as quickly as possible.”

During repair of the ramp all traffic was cancelled, which meant that Seven Sisters and Côte D’Albatre were directed on to the Dover – Calais route until Tuesday afternoon when the ramp had been fixed.

Dieppe – Newhaven concession celebration

Earlier this week, Peder Gellert visited our French colleagues in Dieppe for a special celebration. We won the tender to operate the Dieppe – Newhaven route for another five years. As you might recall, four years ago DFDS took over the route.

“The first extension was only for two years, which was then extended by two years, so we never really had the chance to look at our collaboration in longer terms,” said Peder Gellert. He had invited staff from the terminal, ashore and the ships for a night of celebration with dinner and a speech.

“With this five-year concession, we will be able to set a new future for the Dieppe – Newhaven route. We have already successfully implemented the booking systems Phoenix and Seabook, which I know you all made an extra effort to do. Thank you for that. We move for all to grow – personally, in the company and for the route – and we will make sure that you have the necessary support from our group functions to keep developing. Thank you for accepting DFDS as your employer and for your great support in achieving this concession. I am confident that we will be able to develop on various levels,” said Peder Gellert.

During the afternoon, Peder Gellert met the crew on board Seven Sisters. “It was a great opportunity for the staff on board and ashore to meet Peder and celebrate the signing of the contract. We are very pleased to have Peder Gellert taking part in this important moment and for giving such an inspiring speech,” says Jean-Claude Charlo.

FerryGateway bridge​d gap between systems in Dieppe 

On 29 January, Peter Hoogendoorn, Senior Project Manager,  and his project team replaced the WebRes booking system with Phoenix and Seabook for the Dieppe – Newhaven route, and it all worked well for that day’s 18:00 departure.

However, there were also new challenges. A large community of second-home owners live in the UK but spend substantial parts of their summers in their French holiday homes, and they typically book far in advance. This means that over 5,000 bookings in the WebRes booking system needed to be re-booked in SeaBook

The difference between the two systems meant that re-booking from WebRes in SeaBook was more complex than expected and would require a lot of time from the team in Dieppe as well as support from their colleagues in Newcastle. Fortunately, technology came to the rescue. The solution was to use the FerryGateway technology that allows external websites to make passenger bookings with DFDS.

Xavier Kemp, Head of Solutions & Technology, and colleagues in IT decided to export all of the bookings from WebRes into an Excel file and then write a small piece of software that would export all of these bookings to FerryGateway so that they could be created in SeaBook.

This solution transferred 5,112 bookings to SeaBook and saved at least 100 man-days of work. “In the past we have tried migrating bookings from one system to another, and it has always created problems. But this new and very reliable way to create bookings in SeaBook using FerryGateway opens up new opportunities, and we hope to be able to apply the same principles to automating some parts of our international markets processes,” says Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy Director. He is also Digital & IT Officer.

“This solution was suggested by Thor-Einar Burchard, Systems Developer, and he deserves enormous credit for coming up with the idea,” says Declan Walsh.

Thor-Einar was presented with a special thank you from the Passenger business in recognition of his contribution to solving the problem.

 

DFDS has won the tender to operate Dieppe – Newhaven

The Dieppe-Newhaven route, Cóte D’Albatre and Seven Sisters will continue to be operated by DFDS.

 

Dear all,

DFDS has won the operation of the Dieppe – Newhaven route for the next five years from 1 January 2018. This is the exciting result of a long tender process by the SMPAT, the public owner of the route.

On behalf of the owner, we will continue to operate the ro-pax vessels Seven Sisters and Côte D’Albatre and take care of marketing, sales and all other services associated with operating a ferry route.

I am particularly pleased that a long period of uncertainty is over for every one of our colleagues working on board or in the office in Dieppe as well as in our French head office in Paris.

Jean-Claude Charlo, MD of DFDS in France, and his team deserve a big thank you for handling the tender process with professionalism and for achieving this great result.

It is now up to every one of you working on and for the route in France, the UK and in other parts of DFDS to get the most out of this new opportunity. To ensure that our passengers and freight customers continue to prefer this route over other options. And to continue growing the number of passengers and freight units on the route in cooperation with the tourist boards, customers and other partners in France and the UK.

 

Congratulations to all,

Peder Gellert

EVP, Shipping Division