Posts

Welcome Côte d’Opale

Today, we welcome our newest addition to our fleet, Côte d’Opale, that was delivered to Stena and handed over to us six weeks ahead of schedule. We have signed a long-term charter agreement with Stena RoRo and the 216-metre-long ferry will become the longest ferry operating on the English Channel.  

To mark the delivery, a ceremony with representatives from Stena RoRo, DFDS and the shipyard was held on site and the ferry will soon embark on its maiden voyage to Europe where she will be set in service on the Dover – Calais route during the summer.

With capacity for 160 trailers and space for 1000 passengers and crew, the Côte d’Opale is a fine example of how we combine cargo and passenger traffic without compromising the onboard experience. Stena’s E-Flexer design has made it possible to adapt the ferry to the wishes associated with the short English Channel crossings.

Côte d’Opale will be able to offer our passengers a comfortable journey and an extraordinary shopping experience while accommodating growth and increasing operational efficiency. Due to the large capacity, energy consumption per trailer transported will be significantly decreased compared to Calais Seaways that will be replaced by Côte d’Opale.

Instead of cabins, there are extra-large areas so passengers can spread out, relax and enjoy the great onboard facilities. The bow and stern are especially designed to fit the quayside facilities in both ports, and in addition, it is equipped with a third bow thruster to facilitate the many daily manoeuvres in port.

Finally, I want to recognise the huge efforts of Jeppe Halkjær Pedersen as observer at the shipyard for the last couple of months. Recently, Jeppe was supplemented by three French crew members who also joined as observers after 23 days of quarantine. They have all done an incredible job. Thank you.

About the Côte d’Opale  

Length: 215.9 m

Draught: 6.6 m

Beam: 27.8 m

Capacity: 3100 lane meters + 120 trailers, 1000 passengers and crew

Newbuilding for the Baltics on sea trial

Just look at these fantastic photos of our newbuilding on sea trial.

As you might know, sea trials are conducted to test and validate the equipment and systems. At Guangzhou Shipyard International in China, it is customary to conduct two sea trials. The first sea trial is to test main functions, machinery, propulsion systems etc. The second is considered an acceptance trial, verifying that all systems are functional and that contractual speed requirements can be achieved. As seen in the pictures, the first sea trial happened before applying the final coating which will be done before the final sea trial.  

We look forward to seeing her in full DFDS livery and welcome her home to Europe later this year. It is certain that this beauty will get to create many fine experiences for our passengers when it is deployed in one of your Baltic routes. Thank you to Jens Monk Green Bro for sharing the pictures with us. 

Farewell Gothia Seaways, welcome Acacia Seaways

Last week, we sold our ferry ‘Gothia Seaways’ to Luxembourg-based CLdN. At the same time, we acquired the freight ferry ‘Meleq’ from CLdN which we have named Acacia Seaways.

Last Thursday 15 April, we said farewell to Gothia Seaways that was acquired by CldN and will be renamed Maxine. The handover was officially marked at a flag change ceremony where Captain Andrej Oreshko and crew lowered the Lithuanian flag on board Gothia Seaways. Afterwards the new Captain from CLdN raised the Isle of Man flag.

However, the day after a new ferry, Meleq, joined the fleet from CLdN. Meleq is a very well-known class as she is a sister ship to our ferries Gardenia Seaways and Tulipa Seaways. Each is 210m long and has capacity for 262 trailers with a load space of 4,076 metres.

The acquisition was marked with a flag change ceremony where our crew hoisted the Lithuanian flag marking the delivery.

The new ferry was named Acacia Seaways and joins the group of ferries known as the flower vessels which are all built at the German shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft.

Maxine has been chartered back to DFDS for continued service in DFDS’ Baltic network during April-May and is expected to join DFDS’s new Calais – Sheerness freight-only service scheduled to commence on 1 June. Acacia Seaways has been chartered back for continued operation on CLdN’s Zeebrugge-Purfleet-Esbjerg route.

DFDS launches new unaccompanied freight service from Sheerness to Calais

The service will start on 1st June and will offer one daily sailing in each direction between the two ports.

It will be operated by the Gothia Seaways, which can carry up to 165 unaccompanied freight units (trailers or containers without drivers).

The port of Sheerness, part of Peel Ports’ London Medway cluster, is located in northern Kent and operates 24 hours a day and is fully open/accessible seven days a week. This flexibility offers our customers congestion free access to drop and collect trailers, with no standage charges applied for the first 48 hours. The port benefits from close proximity to the M25 orbital ring (approx. 40km closer to the M25 than Dover), which is ideal for goods heading to the London area and the Midlands.

The new route expands our existing network of services between the UK and Europe and comes in response to growing demand for unaccompanied freight services.

It is the latest in a series of investments we are making to improve our services. A brand-new freight and passenger ship, the Cote d’Opale will join our Dover to Calais route in July this year, increasing capacity on the route and enhancing the passenger experience onboard its fleet.

Wayne Bullen, Freight Sales Director, said: “We’re really pleased to be adding a new unaccompanied freight service to the extensive route network that DFDS already offers. Sheerness benefits from excellent road links with a close proximity to the M25 orbital ring, which is ideal for goods heading to the London area and the Midlands”.

“Sheerness promises to be a superb ‘partner port’, with an ambitious plan to grow its services over the next decade. We also continue to cement our partnership with the port of Calais and are excited to be expanding our services to the port as it marks the fulfilment of its multi-million-pound expansion project”.

“Launching a new route at this time is a strong indication of our commitment to our customers, our confidence in the popularity of DFDS services and an investment that will help to boost both the UK and French economies. It aligns with our business strategy, helping us to expand our freight network and offer solutions that help our customers, communities and our own business to grow.”

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Chairman, Port of Calais, said: “We are very proud that DFDS, first RoRo operator in Europe, chose the port of Calais to propose its new unaccompanied route to the UK. It is a clear sign of confidence in the ability of the port to create value for our clients. This new service will perfectly fit with the rail motorways in operation in Calais coming from Italy, Spain and southern France”.

Richard Goffin, Port Director, London Medway said: “We’re delighted to welcome a new unaccompanied freight service from DFDS. This is the first ferry service since Olau Line ceased operating in 1994. Over the past year, we have Brexit-proofed a number of our ports, including London Medway, increasing resiliency to handle additional cargo to help reduce delays and maximise efficiencies for customers to provide a more attractive proposition and UK entry point over other southern ports. Our strategic location provides proximity to market benefits, and we are continuing to drive forward with planned investment in our people, processes and technology, creating further opportunities for our customers through diversification, as well as the creation of up to 100 direct and indirect local jobs.”

The combination of challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19, has exposed drivers and haulage companies to vulnerabilities in supply chains worldwide. This has resulted in many cargo owners and carriers re-assessing their transport plans and choosing different ports, different shipping methods, and switching transport modes in order to preserve supply chains. Given current restrictions surrounding international travel, stricter border controls and COVID-19 threats, one of the most standout benefits is that by using driverless methods, the risk of delays associated to those particular challenges is reduced.

“Our dedicated RoRo facilities can accommodate unaccompanied freight, providing a huge opportunity for RoRo operators to gain uncongested access to London and the South East easily through London Medway, saving on steaming time. The announcement of this new service is indicative of this shift and the growing demand for unaccompanied freight services to support market changes and adapt to the changing demands of cargo owners, haulers and shipping lines alike.”

“This new service will exploit capacity partly enabled by resilience funding from the Department of Transport (DfT) in 2019.”

Newbuilding for the Baltics soon ready for sea trials

A lot is happening at Guangzhou Shipyard International in China where our new combined freight and passenger ferry for the Baltic Sea is being built. On Friday 19 March, another milestone was reached as the inclining test was successfully carried out.

Steen Haurum, Site Manager, says: “An inclining test’s purpose is to establish the vessel’s centre of gravity. Since this is a crucial parameter when calculating stability, it is of course important that the value is accurate, which is why the vessel must be almost finished. This means that the hull must be finalized, and all major equipment installed.

Steen adds, “With the inclining test completed and interior well underway, we now we have another huge task ahead: commissioning of all onboard systems and finalization of the 230-metre-long ferry including sea trials”.

Impressions of the interior design 

The ferry will have capacity for 600 passengers and 270 trailers. Passengers can choose between standard and deluxe cabins.  Two new cabin types have been introduced – allergy friendly and family cabins. The 120 m² onboard shop is three times bigger than on current Baltic vessels.

Drivers can also look forward to their own buffet-restaurant with a lounge area, as the Road Kings brand is re-introduced on our Baltic Routes.

While the final look and feel is still months ahead, the interior design is already taking great shape. The first ship is expected to be completed in the second half of the summer.

Close to sea trials 
Captain Mindaugas Nosavičius, Mechanic Arvydas Maksimavičius and Second Mechanic Mantas Jokšas have left Lithuania and are currently on their way to the shipyard.

Captain Nosavičius, says: “One of the goals for this trip is to get acquainted with the ferry’s machinery, equipment and technology. We’llalso take part in the extensive sea trials which, if all goes well, should take place in the middle of April and last several days. These trials test speed, manoeuvrability, equipment and safety features.“

The trip to China is a challenge in itself. They will have to do eight Covid-19 tests and 21 days isolation in China.

They are planning to stay until mid-May and will be replaced by Captain Vytautas Valteras, Chief Mechanic Pavel Chandogin and Second Mechanic David Viršila.

Q&A with Steve Newbery about Côte d’Opale

Côte d’Opale is our upcoming combined passenger and freight ferry that is destined for the Channel. It is currently under construction at the AVIC WEIHAI SHIPYARD CO LTD in China. With the launch getting closer, we thought we would catch up with our Onboard Commercial Director, Steve Newbery, to find out more about this ship which will be setting sail with us this summer.

What are you most excited about for the new Côte d’Opale ship? 

I’m excited about the impact it will make to our customers. With additional freight capacityspacious interior restaurants, new Duty Free shop and relaxation areas, it will be a fantastic ship for both our freight and leisure customers.

What makes this different to the Calais Seaways which she is replacing? 

The Côte d’Opale is much longer in length. In fact, it will be the longest ship on the channel, meaning freight capacity will be significantly improved. Plus, there will be plenty of room to relax, have a bite to eat and take in the sea air on deck. The Côte d’Opale has half the number of engines as Calais Seaways so will be much more environmentally friendly with improvements in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions compared to the Calais Seaways. She will also offer a very smooth crossing with her active stabilisation.

What can passengers expect to find onboard? 

The Côte d’Opale will have the largest Duty Free retail space on the channel with 1100 square metres.  Our onboard shop will offer Duty Free savings of up to 50% on a range of premium perfumes, wines, spirits and more! 

It will also offer a choice of three restaurants with various dishes, some inspired by the Côte d’Opale region itself.  

As our ferries run 24 hours a day, there will also be dedicated spaces onboard for passengers to relax. Our Premium Lounge will offer an exclusive, laid back space for passengers to spend a peaceful crossing with scenic sea views and complimentary refreshments. But I think everyone will notice the relaxing space onboard available to enjoy the journey.  

Not forgetting our freight drivers, the Road Kings lounge will offer complimentary dining, showers and a place for drivers to rest.  It will be the largest Road Kings and provide everything our valued drivers need to relax and refresh.  

Describe the Côte d’Opale in three words. 

Spacious, modern and exciting.

When will the Côte d’Opale set sail? 

The Côte d’Opale will set sail this summer, just in time for those long-awaited summer holidays, and all the DFDS Channel team look forward to welcoming her.   


Steve Newbery

Volume record on Klaipeda routes

On 9 March, a total of 7555 lane meters of cargo went out of Klaipeda to Kiel and Karlshamn altogether. It is an absolute record on Baltic routes despite the pandemic related restrictions.

We have strong demand, which we are able to accommodate thanks to sweeper vessels – Ark Futura and Finlandia Seaways, operating on both routes in addition to four ro-pax vessels Regina Seaways, Victoria Seaways, Athena Seaways and Optima Seaways that serve the routes on regular basis. In order to obtain maximum utilization of the additional capacity, the Route Directors Aleksej Slipenciuk (Klaipeda – Kiel) and Per-Henrik Persson (Klaipeda – Karlshamn) have carefully planned the schedule, where four vessels had to be loaded almost simultaneously – with just one hour difference between departures.

Every peak departure puts pressure on the terminal and operations staff as it does on city infrastructure. With 7.5km of cargo it was no exception. Ambitious joint plans of improving the infrastructure, including installation of additional photo gate, expanding waiting area for the trailers and full reconstruction of the road leading to the terminal, are among those being planned.

I would like to thank everyone involved, both ashore and at sea, for this fantastic result. You should all be proud of your contribution. Let’s continue in this spirit as we anticipate the state-of-art newbuilds scheduled for delivery in the nearest future.

Rosslare – Dunkirk ferry route expands capacity

Photo by Jens Vinderslev.

On the 1st April, DFDS will introduce a fourth freight ferry to the successful direct ferry service between Rosslare Europort in Ireland and the Grand Port of Dunkerque in Northern France. 

The new freight ferry is DFDS’ “Ark Dania” with capacity of 188 truck units (including 12 driver accompanied units and 176 unaccompanied units/trailers). 

The direct service is favoured by haulage companies and industry alike, as it avoids the delays, border checks and complicated paperwork that come with using the UK as a land-bridge. Upon arrival in Dunkirk or Rosslare, the drivers are fully rested and can continue driving immediately to reach many major destinations within the rules for driving limits. 

Just after Brexit, the direct route between Rosslare and Dunkirk was launched on 2nd January with three ferries to offer a cost-efficient alternative for trade between Ireland and continental Europe. The additional capacity also gives customers an opportunity to grow their business post Brexit.  

Aidan Coffey, Route Director, says: Ark Dania is an important addition to the routeIt’s a very versatile ferry capable of carrying diverse types of cargoIwill also free up capacity on our three other ferries for more driver accompanied freight units”. 

We have strong demand from all sectors of industry looking to use the direct route to North Central Europe, as more and more realise the benefits of using the direct route compared to the UK land-bridge. 

CFO route suspended to 5 April

Further to the latest update from DK government on travel restrictions, our service between Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo will now be suspended up to and including 5 April 2021. Our next possible sailing will be from 6 April 2021.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Group Passenger, says: “As the travel restrictions continues, we will extend the the lay-up period as well. The vast majority of crew members will still be 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.

We know that it is very hard for our colleagues who have been furloughed, and we look very much forward to welcoming you all back on work when we see the restrictions soften”.

Further details on the latest restrictions from the DK government will be updated here.

Dining on board Côte d’Opale

As Chinese New Year fell on our production yard in Weihai earlier this month, those working on the Côte d’Opale got a well-deserved rest. They’ve earned it as their hard work has meant the ship is almost 90% complete. 

As one of the largest ships on the Channel, the Côte d’Opale is well equipped for post-covid travel. It will offer a choice of dining options with plenty of space to enjoy a meal onboard while socially distancing. 

Those who set sail on the Côte d’Opale will have the pleasure of an inclusive meal on every crossingFor light bites, the Lighthouse Café will offer sandwiches, bean-to-cup coffee and too good to resist cakes. A range of French dishes inspired by regional ingredients such as Magret de Canard and Tartiflette will be available in our 7 Seas restaurant. Alongside these, classic options for breakfast, lunch and dinner will also be available, with a special children’s menu.

For more exclusive experiencethe Premium Lounge is a relaxing space with complimentary refreshments, prosecco and stunning sea views. The Relax Lounge will be a haven for weary travellers, with personal pods for passengers to rest their heads on their journey. 

Not forgetting our freight drivers, the dedicated Road Kings Lounge will give drivers a filling meal and a place to rest while they take a break from their hard work. Our premium facilities for freight drivers also include hot showers and a quiet lounge for them to sleep while they sail. 

With sea-views, spacious seating and delicious dishes, we’re expecting the Côte d’Opale to be a hit! 

Read more about Côte d’Opale here.


The Lighthouse Café will offer a light, airy space to enjoy a bite to eat, with large windows offering sea views.


The 7 Seas restaurant will offer a range of hot and cold meals to enjoy at any time of day.


The Premium Lounge will offer comfortable seating, complimentary refreshments and 
a relaxed environment to spend a peaceful sailing.

Scandia Seaways’ first day of work

Scandia SeawaysHollandia Seaways and Tulipa Seaways all caught in one shot at VlaardingenThank you to Paul Lammers for sharing. 

After a successful maiden voyage, Scandia Seaways arrived in Vlaardingen on 8 February. Since then, work has gone into preparing the 6,700 lane metre freight ferry for the day she hits the route. Yesterday, it was finally that day. A busy crew ensured a smooth loading and made her ready for her first sailing on our Rotterdam – Immingham route. 

Scandia Seaways took over from Humbria Seaways that will go to our Gothenburg – Ghent route.   

This marks a special milestone where all six mega freight ferries from Jinling Shipyard are in service throughout our route network.   

Please enjoy some great photos of Scandia in Vlaardingen shared by Paul Lammers, Route Operations Manager in Vlaardingen.

Fire on board Gallipoli Seaways

Update: *Fire suppressed and cooling started*

On 11 February, our freight ferry Gallipoli Seaways, sailing from the Pendik Port of Istanbul to the Trieste Port of Italy, was passing from the exit of Dardanelles Strait when a fire broke out in one of the vehicles on the main deck of the ship for reasons currently unknown.

The crew intervened immediately and the fire was taken under control. Rescuers and support vessels were informed and are currently escorting the vessel.

There were no injuries or casualties caused by the fire. In addition, there are no environmental leaks from the vessel and the cause of the fire is being investigated by the authorities.

On 12 February, some fires through out the morning have appeared in different units, however, it is under control and the fire fighter teams are continuing to extinguish with foam to spotted areas.

We are following the developments and fully cooperating with the authorities.

DFDS prevails through Brexit transition

The UK has left the EU. It means new processes and more paperwork for DFDS and its freight customers working between the UK and EU.

Despite years of preparation, the post-Brexit period caused challenges and delaysExtensive form filling, extra inspections and other needs were impossible to foresee.   

A range of factors including confusion over paperwork were responsible.  

Easier customs processes

This is now becoming manageable. DFDS can offer clearance services that provide a much easier customs process.    

Eddie Green is the head of DFDS’s cold chain business unit. “From across England and Scotland, we transport seafood to UK ports, and then on to the continent. Brexit challenges caused long delays in the shipment of fresh fish that started in early January. These challenges included the requirements for health certificates, customs documentation, and introduction of new IT systems.

More staff

The IT systems are now workable. We have trained more staff to help customers with correct customs declarations. 

“Brexit is challenging and needed a lot preparation last year. There will be another challenging period in July when Border controls are fully implemented for goods entering the UK. But we’ll keep our customers goods moving by working with them and the authorities.”  

Stock building ahead of Brexit boosted DFDS. We still have to see how Brexit will impact freight volumes on the North Sea routes to the UK. 

DFDS’ direct Ireland – France ferry route

DFDS has a new freight ferry route between Ireland and France. It provides direct and paperless transport between EU countries. It is already popular, enjoying near 100% utilisation from day one.

DFDS started a new freight ferry route Rosslare and Dunkerque on 2 January 2021. It gives lorry drivers direct and paperless transport between EU countries. It has proved popular with near 100% utilisation from the start.  

Three ferries serve the route. Each can carry up to 125 lorries and their drivers in Covid-safe, single cabins. The ferries leave six times a week in the afternoon or evening, with a crossing time of 24 hours.  

Remains in EU’s single market and customs union  

“We are extremely pleased to offer customers the opportunity to transport their goods to or from EU countries. Removing the customs formalities and possible waiting times in the UK saves both time and costs for our customers,” says Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division.

Driver-friendly and close to major destinations  

Drivers arrive in Dunkerque or Rosslare fully rested. They can start driving immediately and reach many destinations within their legal driving limit.

The route reduces the dependency on the UK land bridge. It opens direct opportunities for trade within EU’s single market.

Sunny outlook in the Mediterranean

Positive signs after a tough year for DFDS in Turkey.

DFDS’ business in the Mediterranean grew two per cent on the same period last year.

This small growth is a positive sign given the global impact of Covid-19 in 2020. DFDS expects to continue this in 2021.

Turkey felt the pandemic effects like every other country. Lockdowns and factory closures hit trade hard.

The country’s exports to many European countries were down 27% in May 2020. Turkey started to adapt, and the wheels of the economy started to turn again. Trade reports indicated improved results the following month.

The Turkish Lira started to regain its value. Its import-export balance began returning to normal.

DFDS in the Mediterranean started to perform better as a result. Rail lines proved their importance during the pandemic when land borders were running with restrictions. DFDS was able to operate with minimum human interaction.

Looking ahead, a reduced carbon footprint for DFDS in the Mediterranean is a reality. All ferries there have had scrubbers installed, which remove pollutants from exhaust gases.

Also ongoing are efforts to ease congestion in Trieste, Italy – one of DFDS’ key destinations from Turkey.

What’s new, Scandia Seaways?

Alongside in Singapore during loading of stores, provision and bunkering on 16 January.

Captain Joakim Dahlberg and his crew are currently leading our newest mega freight ferry, Scandia Seaways, home to Europe.

With low bandwidth, they can sadly only share a limited amount during the voyage. Luckily, the captain has recently shared a little update and some photos showing some of the things that they are experiencing.

Please enjoy and thank you to Joakim for sending us pictures. We wish the captain and the entire crew a safe journey.


Sailing down the Yangtze river. Passing tanker Fure Vinga, delivered about the same time as Scandia Seaways. Our captain and crew shared quarantine hotel with its crew.


Dolphins passing Sri Lanka on 20 January.


Personal protective gear, and sandbags on the bridge in place prior to reaching the HRA – High Risk Area of Aden Bay.


Dawn in the Indian Ocean.


Security guards boarding from their accommodation vessel “Menkar” before we sail in to the “High risk area” around the Horn of Africa.

Interested in Scandia Seaways’ precise location? Click here.

Great team effort despite adversity

By Wayne Bullen, Freight Sales Director.

As highlighted by Søren and Peder, it was great to see the strong freight performance in all areas of our business during December, primarily as a result of stockpiling as the Brexit transition period came to an end. In addition to this and looking back on a very turbulent year (with challenges we are all too familiar with), I am very proud to say that on the Channel we finished the year shipping a total of almost 1.2 million freight vehicles, which was 6,000 units ahead of our 2019 performance.

Like many colleagues within DFDS and despite the various challenges I do not recall a single day where our focus and determination were anything less than 100% and now we can clearly see the end results of our combined efforts. I felt it appropriate to take this opportunity to thank the Freight Sales, Customer Service, Operations and Onboard Teams for their essential contribution towards this achievement.

It goes without saying that this success does not compensate for the fall in passengers which was of course an unfortunate consequence of Covid-19 but with the same level of commitment, passion and effort we will achieve optimum results during 2021 and combine this with the hopeful recovery of the important passenger trade to get back to where we all deserve to be.

Côte D’Opale vs Calais Seaways

A quick look at how the ferries compare with each other.

As we look forward to welcoming the Côte D’Opale this summer, here is a quick look at how she compares to the much-loved Calais Seaways which she will replace on our Dover to Calais route. 

Built in 1991 and upgraded in 2013, Calais Seaways is a familiar ship on the Channel routes. She has seen families embark on unforgettable summer holidays, couples set sail on memorable minibreaks and countless truck drivers bring vital supplies to our shoresUnfortunately she is reaching the end of her life and will be replaced with the Côte D’Opale. 

The familiar restaurants, Premium Lounge and children’s play area will all be available onboard, with a refreshed interior design. A brand-new Duty Free shop will be open too for our customers to browse and indulge in some retail therapy. We will also have our dedicated Road Kings area exclusively for truck drivers so they can enjoy a meal, a rest and a shower before their onward journey. 

The Côte D’Opale will boast more space onboard for customers to relax, refresh and refuel before their arrival in France and she will be more environmentally friendly too. Her diesel engines will use less fuel and her sleek hull design will drive two propellers that give the ship a service speed of 20-22 knots. 

Take a look at the specifications below to see how the two ships compare.  

Côte D’Opale well underway

This year we will welcome the Côte D’Opale into the Channel family and with just a few months to go until her maiden voyage, she is coming along nicely.

Construction started in May 2019 at the Avic Shipyard in Weihai, China, and there is just 15% of the build left until she is ready! Around 300 people are working on the ship to prepare her for the sea trials in May, after which the Côte D’Opale will be ready to welcome you onboard. With her 214 metres length and the capacity for 1000 passengers, she will be the longest ferry on the Channel and will welcome both freight and leisure passengers.  

The Côte D’Opale will have the largest retail space of all our channel ships stretching 1,100 square metres in an open plan conceptA large atrium with a bright skylight will be the centrepiece of the retail experience onboard. There will then be separate ‘wings’ for each product category including perfume & cosmetics, beer, wine & spirits and gifts & technology. Duty Free will add more excitement to the shopping experience, with huge savings on premium products available onboard. 

Steve Newbery, Onboard Commercial Director, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the Côte D’Opale to our channel routes this summer and can’t wait to welcome customers onboard when it’s safe to do so. With shopping and dining experiences to rival large shopping centres or airports, the ship will offer more space, more choice, and a unique travel experience for our valued customers. 

Take a look at how our ship is shaping up and how our retail area onboard will look! Also see how she compares to Calais Seaways in this article.


The onboard shop will have a light, airy central atrium with a glass roof, which will flood the area with light. 



One section of the shop will be dedicated to beers, wines & spirits, with great savings on premium brands.  

 


A recent photo from the building yard shows the shop skylight being fitted.

A heavy request

Every now and then our colleagues receive requests that just stand out. As was the case when Cargo Sales & Marketing in Kiel took upon them to arrange the transportation of a generator in a weight class from the big league.

F.H. Bertling needed a 98 tonnes generator transported from Pilzen in the Czech Republic to Kazakhstan. Such requests are not entirely unusual for us, but due to the weight, they demand individual and intensive talks with terminals and vessels to coordinate down to the smallest detail. 

After approval from all relevant parties, we made an offer to Bertling which they agreed to and in the end the generator was shipped on Tuesday 12 January from Kiel to Klaipeda. 

From Czech Republic to Kazakhstan

What made this request interesting was the journey from production to the final destination. The generator was produced in Pilzen, Czech Republic. From there it was transported by a special roadtrain to Magdeburg where it was reloaded into a barge.

After navigating the river “Elbe” and the “Kiel-Canal” this barge delivered the heavy generator to Kiel on Tuesday 6 January. In Kiel it was reloaded onto DFDS-rolltrailer by the mobile pobrt crane for further shipment on our roro-vessel from Kiel to Klaipeda. In Klaipeda the generator was loaded onto wagon and transported by rail to its final destination to Kazakhstan, to one of the largest oil producers there. 

We have received positive feedback from Bertling. Especially on the one-point customer contact and care provided by Wiebke Störte and Anja Kock. Thanks a lot to all the involved in Kiel, Klaipeda and off course the vessels on the route. 

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.

Scandia Seaways departs from Jinling

Goodbye for now, Jinling Shipyard. After three and a half years, Scandia Seaways, the sixth and final mega freight ferry, could finally set course towards Singapore and afterwards Europe. This marks the conclusion of an extensive project that saw the delivery of Ephesus Seaways, Troy Seaways, Hollandia Seaways, Humbria Seaways, Flandria Seaways and now Scandia Seaways.


From left:  Jeppe Halkjær Pedersen, Frane Pilic and Michael Klysner.

Frane Pilic, who led our dedicated and fantastic site team supported by our own Jeppe Halkjær Pedersen and Michael Klysner were there to say farewell to Scandia Seaways and the crew. 

For close to five years, the management of this huge project has lied in the hands of Senior Project Manager Jens Peter Baltsersen. He says: It’s my pleasure to confirm that after a successful flag change Saturday afternoon as well as the completion of the last tests and bunkering, Scandia Seaways left the Jinling Shipyard Sunday morning at 09.58.”

“Captain Joakim Dahlberg, Chief Engineer Mads Jonsen and crew are now heading towards Singapore to pick up onboard stores, provision and spare parts. After that they will continue to Europe through the Suez Canal. I wish them a great and safe journey.” 


From the flag change ceremony.

Delivery of Scandia Seaways

By Jesper Aagesen, Director of Newbuilding & Major Conversions.

This month it is five years ago we visited the Jinling Shipyard for the very first time where we initiated the discussions on our mega freight ferry project. That was the beginning of a long journey between the yard and DFDS.

Today, on 6 January, we have taken delivery of the sixth and final ferry in the series named Scandia Seaways. Our crew will now take the vessel home to “our” waters, where she will join three of her sisters and be put into service in our North Sea network. Therefore, this will also be a goodbye to Jinling Shipyard, but maybe followed by a “see you again” another time. This project marked the first time DFDS built vessels in China on our own. We have gathered huge experience and knowledge on how to execute shipbuilding projects in China including both “do’s and don’t’s” and also some lessons learned. All this will contribute to us being very well prepared next time. However, even though we are now finished at Jinling Shipyard, it is not at all goodbye to China. We have still three ferries under construction, i.e. the COTE D’OPALE on the shipyard in Weihai and two Ro-Pax’es for Baltic Sea on GSI in Guangzhou.

Successful but different delivery
On site we had Jeppe and Michael in place together with the shipyard. Ole Færge, Jesper Hartvig Nielsen, Jens Peter Baltsersen and Jesper Aagesen joined the closing meeting via Teams. Taking delivery of ships via a computer screen is not exactly the same as being on site, but these days this is what is possible. However, we are looking forward to visit China again as soon as possible.


From today’s closing meeting and signing ceremony.

Thank you
Last but not at least I would like to express my sincere thanks to our great site team on Jinling Shipyard for their huge efforts during the construction since the production start in August 2017. It has not at all been an easy job and you have from time to time had to navigate in troubled waters. Most of the site team members came from the external company OSM and did a great and dedicated job on behalf of DFDS. Furthermore, we have had Jeppe H. Pedersen and Michael Klysner based at Jinling Shipyard since 2017 and they have in cooperation with Senior Project Manager Jens Peter Baltsersen and the project team in Copenhagen also done a fantastic job throughout the project with the highest degree of enthusiasm.

The journey home begins
Our crew arrived to China in December and had to take 14 days of hotel quarantine, but all were out of quarantine before New Year. In the coming days the crew will make the ferry ready for the delivery voyage (via Singapore) and a flag change from China to Denmark will also take place. We expect the ferry to leave the shipyard by the end of this week and are looking forward to welcoming here in Northern Europe in beginning of February.

Visby welcomes first guests

Our new Ireland-France route is based on the transport of driver accompanied trailers. The newly chartered ferry M/S Visby can, with her 1,800 lane metres and 92 cabins with private facilities, accommodate up to 120 trucks, trailers, and drivers.

For Visby’s very first roundtrip on Rosslare-Dunkerque, DFDS had prepared gift bags for the first 10 drivers to boardThe gift bags that were delivered to the drivers cabins contained a mixture of DFDS branded goods from caps, travel mugs, key rings and face covering etc. 

“We had the pleasure of meeting a number of enthusiastic ROADKINGS (DFDS’ special driver service concept) onboard our first departure from Dunkerque to Rosslare, including Patrick O’Sullivan from B. Dillon International Transport LTD. Patrick was extremely excited about our new that will cut his travel time from Ireland to Belgium from 5 days to 3 days. We should expect to see him onboard up to twice a week,” says Steve Garner, Head of Customer Experience. 


Steve Garner, Head of Customer Experience, BU Channel (right), and Patrick O’Sullivan from B. Dillon International Transport LTD.

Praising the customer service and accommodation

“Patrick had a great experience with our service. He found that the check-in and loading experience in Dunkerque was seamless and stress free, and that DFDS’ port personnel were friendly, professional and informative. He was also impressed with the warm welcome and meet & greet from our crew. When he arrived in the passenger accommodation, the information provided at Guest Information and the new welcome onboard letter which explained the mealtimes and service provided.


Laura Charlton, Customer Experience Specialist, was ready to answer questions if needed. She also presented Patrick with the gift bag.

He also liked that he was escorted to his cabin by a member of the crew and was extremely impressed with the onboard food. As he explained, wet food is extremely important for a driver and the Irish Stew was perfect for a good evening meal. He was equally pleased with the variety and quality breakfast, lunch and dinner on day two. 

“He only missed some cereals and Irish Jams onboard for his breakfast, and as Rob Bately from the project team and crew already acted on this, we will be able to meet his needs next time he travels with us,” says Steve. 

Patrick found the onboard areas comfortable and perfect to relax and chat with other drivers during the crossing. 

“I get to meet and spend time with a lot of our wonderful customers, but Patrick really was a superstar, his enthusiasm and feedback regarding our new service was extremely encouraging and I really do hope I have the opportunity of meeting him onboard again. To thank Patrick for his valuable feedback we presented him with a DFDS fleece, cap and a bag full of DFDS treats.”


M/S Visby in Dunkerque.