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BU Baltic: Seasonal surprises on board for families

“The entertainers were dressed as pirates and organised a really nice varied children’s programme,” says Irina Matulienė 

As we say: if the children are happy, the parents are happy too.
Approx. 10,000 children travel on the Baltic routes per year, and this number is growing. So to be on trend and keep focus on our little travellers, this year the on-board service team added some extra initiatives dedicated to children.

Irina Matulienė of the on-board marketing and communication team says: “Starting from the Easter period, all children aged 4-12 receive special welcome packs with various funny and educational games according to their age. Besides, on International Children’s Day on 9 June, for the first time a children’s entertainer ‘pirate’ was invited on board the Klaipėda – Kiel ferries to create even more positive emotions and great experiences with DFDS for the little ones. We got a lot of positive feedback from parents and therefore we decided to book eight round trips with children’s entertainers on the Klaipėda – Kiel route during July and August.”

“On these round trips, we had 620 kids on board who all had a wonderful time. The entertainers were dressed as pirates and organised a really nice varied children’s programme with a treasure hunt with prizes for the kids. The parents were also very pleased with the activities and participated in many of them together with their children. We think this initiative works very well and we plan to invite entertainers on board again for the next high season.”

 

Massive generator and transformer via Kiel to Klaipėda

Reloading of the smaller 133-tonne generator with the help of two cranes, from barge onto road train. This road train had a length of 34.7m, a width of 3.95m and a total weight of 206 tonnes

Last week, our colleagues on the Kiel – Klaipėda route had some heavy lifting to do. On Tuesday, they arranged the transport of a 133-tonne generator from Kiel to Klaipeda on board Regina Seaways and the day after a 206-tonne transformer on Victoria Seaways.

The generator was delivered from Heldesleben in Germany and the transformer from Turkey, both to be used for an extension of the electricity network in Lithuania. They were transported to Kiel by barge and reloaded onto road trains that drove the units on board the ferries.

Due to the massive weight of both units, Port of Kiel needed to order an external crane to support their own crane with lifting the units from barge to road train as shown on the picture.

“It was an awesome demonstration of our ability to ship units of abnormal dimensions and weights,” says Ramona Boradshiew, Supervisor, Cargo Sales.

“A big thank you to the captains of Regina Seaways and Victoria Seaways, Alvydas Macius and Kristijanas Kiseliovas, as well as all other involved parties – port offices, stevedores and vessels – who helped to complete the special transport with great co-operation and engagement.”


Unloading of the 206-tonne transformer with the 334-tonne and 59-metre long road train in Klaipėda. This road train is impressive by its dimensions, including 4.55 metre width

Passengers on Baltic routes can now choose a healthy menu

From left to right: Sofija Kočmariova- Cook Assistant; Juozas Rinkevičius – Chef; Vaidas Krūmas – Food & Beverage Manager, BU Baltic; Ugne Radzevičienė – nutrition expert; Lorena Tumėnaitė – Cook Assistant.

Inspired by the growing number of customers with special dietary needs, the BU Baltic on-board service team has launched a healthy menu for customers ordering à la carte. The new health-conscious menu will be available at the beginning of the peak season as an alternative option for individual customers and groups travelling on the Klaipeda – Karlshamn and Klaipeda – Kiel routes.

“A survey conducted in Lithuania in May showed that 62% of our passengers are likely to choose an option from a healthy menu if the price and size of the dishes are similar to those on the regular menu. This result has strengthened our determination to be prepared before the peak season. To that end, we invited Mrs Radzeviciene, a well-known specialist in progressive nutrition, who prepared the menu options without gluten, lactose, eggs and other animal products. Dishes like these might be preferred by vegetarians, vegans and others who tend to focus on a healthy lifestyle,” says Vaidas Krūmas, Food & Beverage Manager, BU Baltic.

To help the staff become even better at preparing delicious and healthy meals, individual training courses have been held with Mrs Radzeviciene on board all BU Baltic passenger ships. Furthermore, this has not only been beneficial to our customers, it has also turned out to be very beneficial to the crew, who have learned more about healthy living.

“We are very happy with this new initiative, and we are looking forward to develop more new opportunities that can help us adjust to the current trends and satisfy the aspirations of our guests,” Vaidas Krūmas says.

Have a look at some tasty examples from the menu and read the full menu right here: Healthy Meniu_GB_BUB’2019.


Chickpeas Tower – chickpeas pancakes with almond cream and mushroom sauce


Green protein – spinach, avocado and tofu

Optima Seaways opened Klaipėda’s Parade of Ships with fireworks

More than 60 ships took part in the Parade of Ships 2019 in Klaipėda, which was begun and concluded by our ferries on the route with horns and fireworks

 

Every year a parade of ships delights the gathered crowds of Lithuanians and tourists in Klaipėda. This was the 10th time the Parade of Ships was organised and the third in a row where DFDS ferries had begun and concluded the 60-ship parade with horns and fireworks.

The fireworks were brought to Optima Seaways on Saturday morning on 18 May and prepared by the organisers to be let off in the evening during the event. Our captain and crew were instructed on procedures and everything went very well. The start and finish of the parade were scheduled to coincide with the departures of Optima Seaways and Victoria Seaways to Karlshamn and Kiel respectively, so playing this part in the parade causes no delay but a lot of joy.

“Since the cruise ship terminal was opened in the centre of Klaipėda in 2003, many new brand and service promotion opportunities have opened up for DFDS. All major events, concerts and more are now being held at the cruise ship terminal, attracting thousands of citizens and city guests. We never miss an opportunity to promote DFDS by sounding the ship’s horn or letting off fireworks when passing the terminal,” says Vaidas Klumbys, General Manager of Communication and PR for BU Baltics.

Optima Seaways dwarfs small boats in Klaipėda’s port as she departs for Karlshamn

Volker Muus retires after 43 years with DFDS

A well-deserved retirement now begins for Volker Muus, here pictured onboard Victoria Seaways in 2017

 

On 28 February, Volker Muus will end his 43½ years of service with DFDS. It will be marked with a reception at the Kiel office, as well as on board Regina Seaways in the evening.

Volker can look back on a long career with pride and fond memories, as he was well-known for both his stellar can-do attitude, and a remarkable consideration for the wellbeing of his colleagues

After ending his apprenticeship successfully, Volker continued his career at Karl Steder in Lübeck, where, as a forwarding agent, he focused on imports and exports and also discovered a passion for IT.

In 1988 Karl Steder, which later became LITA shipping, established a branch office in Kiel, and because of his great work and commitment, Volker was needed in Kiel.

Just five years later Karl Steder became the agent for the Kiel – Klaipeda line, and Volker took over a management function. He took great care with all the tasks that went with this role.
His particular focus was on the customers and the optimisation of operative procedures, and he always did his best with the aim of ensuring that all parties involved – customers, stevedores and crews – felt they had been as well-served as possible.

Volker was the person to be contacted for operational questions or special projects, issues or new demands relating to IT. He managed the facilities within the Kiel office, rebuilding and extensions, when the telephones were down: no matter what the challenge Volker was faced with, he solved it himself, or at least knew who to contact to deal with it. Due to his impressive wealth of experience, he could find an answer to almost any question or issue, and that is a rare trait.

We, his colleagues in Kiel, wish Volker all the best, good health and a great retirement!

The editors also wish to extend their gratitude to Volker and our very best wishes for his retirement. We have always appreciated the good communication we have had with him over the years about news for The Bridge.

Fleet changes secure capacity after Regina incident

We do not yet know when the damage to Regina Seaways’ engine will be fully repaired, and this means she will be sailing with reduced speed until further.

“Therefore, we have decided a few changes to best ensure a continued good service for our customers,” says Aleksej Slipenciuk, Route Director, Klaipeda-Kiel.

From Monday 8 October:

Regina Seaways will start on the Klaipeda-Karlshman route were speed is less needed.

Athena Seaways will make a roundtrip on Klaipeda-Kiel on Saturday 6 October and stay on this route until further.

Patria Seaways and Maestro Universe will both be making two weekly roundtrips on Klaipeda-Karlshamn and one on Klaipeda-Kiel.

“I am very pleased with this as it secures our capacity, including the extended capacity until Christmas, which our customers need”, says Anders Refsgaard, VP and Head of BU Baltic.

DFDS ferry Regina Seaways suffers engine breakdown in the Baltic Sea

Update 21:25 CET: Shortly after 10 pm local time, Regina Seaways arrived safely in Klaipeda where she is being discharged and where passengers can now continue their journey.

UPDATE 16:45 CET: Regina Seaways is now sailing under its own power and is heading towards Klaipeda. Estimated time of arrival in Klaipeda is around 22:00-23:00 local time.

Approx. at 13:00, DFDS ferry Regina Seaways suffered a breakdown to the main engine en route from Kiel to Klaipeda. The breakdown caused smoke which triggered the ship’s extinguishing system in the engine room.

No passengers or crew members were injured. The ship has 294 passengers, 41 crew members as well as trucks and cars on board.

In line with the procedures, the passengers were assembled at muster stations in preparation for a possible evacuation. However, evacuation will not be necessary as the situation is under control and no heat development has been detected in the engine room.

The extent of the damage is not yet fully known, and it is not yet clear whether the ship can continue under its own power or by tugboat assistance.

Regina Seaways is a ro-pax ferry, flying the Lithuanian flag. The ship was built in 2010 and carries up to 500 passengers and has 2623 lane metres.

For further information, please contact VP Group Communications, Gert Jakobsen: +45 24400043

Looking for new MD in Kiel

Anders Refsgaard strongly encourages everyone in DFDS or associated with DFDS, to contact him directly if they find the Route Director position in Kiel interesting

As DFDS’ current MD in Kiel, Jacob Andersen has been appointed Managing Director of Vlaardingen from 1 November, BU Baltic will start searching for a new MD for the agency in Kiel as soon as possible.

“Jacob has helped DFDS build a strong presence in Germany, and a strong BU Baltic. Personally, I think he deserved credit for having been a role model for us all in BU Baltic, not least as regards DFDS Way of Selling where he has been setting high standards. However, we have to accept that it is time for Jacob to move on to new challenges in DFDS, and therefore, I fully support this move and thank him for a job very well done,” says Anders Refsgaard, Vice President and Head of BU Baltic.

“As regards our search for a new Managing Director in Kiel, I strongly recommend anyone in or associated with DFDS who thinks this might be a job for him or her, to contact me or HR straight away. It is a very interesting position, and, with great colleagues in Kiel and Klaipeda, it will provide great opportunities for influencing and contributing to BU Baltic’s development.”

Colleagues in Kiel and St. Petersburg were informed at staff meetings today.

 

Please see the job profile here:

Route Director, Klaipeda – Kiel & St. Petersburg – Kiel

Do you want to accelerate the further development of the Klaipeda – Kiel & St. Petersburg – Kiel route activities and contribute to the overall strategic development in the Business Unit Baltic Sea?

What we are looking for?

As a part of DFDS continued growth and the wish to further develop the route and agency activities in Kiel we are looking for a new Route Director for the routes Klaipeda – Kiel & St. Petersburg – Kiel. From Kiel DFDS is transporting passengers and shipping freight to Klaipeda as well as shipping freight to Ust Luga and St. Petersburg all supported by local teams of experts.

As Route Director for the Kiel route activities and part of the BU Baltic Management team your overall responsibility is to further grow the business in terms of top line and offerings as well as optimizing the earnings. The tasks includes, but is not limited to:

  • Maintain and facilitate the CFI on the location ensuring the position as CFI Top performer
  • Explore the possibilities for digital solutions with the aim to improve customer service and cost efficiency
  • Exchange best practice with peers / Route Directors in the DFDS organization and implement learnings effectively
  • Manage to run and facilitate more projects and initiatives at the same time and on ad hoc basis
  • Protect the company’s profile and image.
  • Create business cases with the aim to grow our business – in line with our strategy
  • Coordinate and facilitate administrative development for the German DFDS locations
  • Supervise the St. Petersburg location

Commercial

  • Ensure top line growth and optimize the earnings for the Klaipeda – Kiel & St. Petersburg – Kiel route.
  • Handle and maintain customer relations
  • Develop rate structure for the route activities
  • Facilitate and execute rate negotiations with both customers and suppliers
  • Supervise the passenger business

Human resources

  • Ensure that Team Targets and Sales Plans are made for the Kiel and St. Petersburg location
  • Create and align clear expectations with teams, employees and superiors.
  • Develop a feedback and coaching culture on the Kiel location including challenging superiors and peers on other BU Baltic locations.
  • Facilitate development of the individual employee and the teams through coaching.
  • Ensure optimal conditions to further development of the team spirit on the Kiel location and inside DFDS in general.
  • Identify and develop talent in the DFDS organization
  • Constantly improve CFI Score & Staff Score (Staff survey & Bearing)

Overall, the position is a key function with interfaces to peers in the BU Baltic Sea, to Business Partnering, corporate functions in HQ and the German management team. The position is local in Kiel, Germany.

Your Profile?

You are a passionate and highly engaged personality, who can manage, embrace, develop and implement changes effectively. You have an educational background or experience with Profit/Loss responsibility. We expect you to be fluently English speaking and writing with the motivation to learn German.

We expect you to have a winning personality and leadership excellence.

What do we offer?

An interesting position on a high performing and dynamic location, with strong team around you. The informal work environment and the cooperation with stakeholders will enable the candidate to develop personal as well as professional skills further.

For further questions regarding the position, please do not hesitate to contact Anders Refsgaard, VP BU Baltic Sea or Kasper Damgaard, VP Group HR & Training/Development.

If you find the job interesting and you fulfil the job profile, please send your CV and application to Kasper Damgaard: kasper.damgaard@dfds.com. We will evaluate applications on an ongoing basis. Questions to the position is also addressed to Kasper Damgaard or Anders Refsgaard. All applications will be treated confidentially.

 

From Lithuania to Shetland in just six days

“With great inter-company cooperation, logistics succeeded in making the delivery in only six days,” says Lars Thorsen, head of our logistics company in Lithuania.

DFDS in Vilnius took on the task of delivering a load of trawler equipment for a trawler in Lerwick.

The load was collected on 18 December for delivery in Shetland before Christmas Day. “In cooperation with Jelena Kotova from DFDS in Liepaja, we managed to load and ship it via Klaipeda – Kiel and shunt the same day to Esbjerg to catch a departure from Esbjerg to Immingham in the evening. In spite of the small time window, we completed the task with superb assistance from Richard Backhouse and Nick Davis in Immingham. There, a double-manned truck was sent to DFDS’ Shetland depot in Aberdeen for reloading onto a trailer bound for Shetland. With help from our colleague Andy Stewart in Shetland, the load was safely delivered in Lerwick on 23 December as planned,” says Lars Thorsen, head of DFDS logistics in Lithuania.

“With great inter-company cooperation, we succeeded in making the delivery in only six days – which just about any organisation would find extremely difficult to match. A special thank you to everyone involved in the transport from DFDS’ branch office in Vilnius,” he adds.