NorthSea Terminal in new cooperation with shipping company MSC

NorthSea terminal in Brevik, Norway.

After long negotiations with shipping company MSC, it is a pleasure to announce that from 11 November the NorthSea terminal in Brevik will deliver port service to MSC’s container shipping service in the Oslofjord.

Thorbjørn Aasig Lund, Managing Director in Brevik, says: “We are looking forward to the collaboration with MSC where we are responsible for the handling of containers. It is fantastic to see the recent growth in Brevik. Within 14 days, we went from two weekly calls to Rotterdamn to also include Hamburg, Breverhaven and now Antwerp with this new cooperation”

With the addition of Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Antwerp, we expect to double our current volumes by 2021 and handle around 60,000 containers. This is a good start to meet our strategic goal of handling around 100,000 containers by 2023. The growth into 2021 will make us Norway’s second largest container terminal, after we have been the 10th largest container terminal for many years.”

New shipping line in Vlaardingen

MS Akranes that will arrive at Vlaardingen every Sunday.

Even though things are tough right now, opportunities to grow and collaborate still arise all over DFDS. This time, a new cooperation between DFDS and the shipping company, Smyril Line, was a welcoming addition to the business in Vlaardingen.

Jorik van Oosterom, Terminal Operations Manager, says: “From now on, every Sunday, Smyril Line’s freight ferry, MS Akranes, will arrive at Vlaardingen where we will handle the discharging and loading of trailers, containers and machinery. It will then departure back to Norway the following Monday where it will call the Norwegian ports in Stavanger, Trondheim, Rørvik and Hitra.“

“It is great to see that we are able to attract additional volumes during the pandemic and Brexit. The route is mainly transporting fresh fish, however, together with our Logistics colleagues in Vlaardingen and Norway, we will do our best to push volumes of all kinds on this route to grow further. To support the DFDS network, we have also delayed the departure to Felixstowe from Vlaardingen with one hour to offer customers a connection from Norway to the UK.”

Robert Pieren, Area Manager at Smyril Line, says: “Our Norwegian service vessel ms Akranes has been handled and served really well just as expected of a professional and well-structured terminal.

“A short and straight forward meeting with Jorik van Oosterom and Ritchie Keemink made our corporation running smoothly as from day one. Thanks to all DFDS staff involved handling our vessel and cargo during its calls at the DFDS terminal in Vlaardingen.”

Smart Gate goes live in Kiel

An LED screen welcoming customers and visualizing how to proceed

When truck drivers arrive at the Port of Kiel to deliver or pick up a trailer, they will now spend significantly less time doing so because of the new smart gate system that went live in Q2-2020.

Philipp Mayworm, Head of Customer Service & Operations in Kiel, says: ”Before the smart gate, the drivers had to register at the DFDS Check-in office before entering the port. This made the gate-in/gate-out process very time consuming and cumbersome. To ease the process, we considered the digital opportunities available, and our initial ideas quickly developed into a joint project between DFDS and Port of Kiel which owns the port and infrastructure.”

Comparison between previous and present procedure

When the Corona virus hit the business in March, our German colleagues swiftly had to reduce physical contact to passengers and truck drivers. Instead of testing and developing the system further for another estimated 2 – 3 months, the smart gate was implemented within 3 days as it was already in the final development phase.

“Having the new system already in place, made it much easier to learn, implement changes and further improve while already benefiting from it. Even though the pandemic forced us into shorter development cycles it has been great to see the level of activity within DFDS but also from Port of Kiel“, says Philipp.

The system will have a great impact as drivers save minimum 10 minutes each time they deliver or pick up a trailer providing better possibility to cope with peak periods. It also improves theft prevention. Having the first phase implemented, the system provides further potential to improve efficiency to accommodate accompanied cargo and passengers.

This improvement would not have been possible without the valuable input and continuous support from local colleagues, developing the process over time and implementing the new setup while coping with the various challenges that Covid-19 provided. Thanks as well to Jan Kierstein, Integration Developer, for being available whenever the interface between DFDS and Port of Kiel became a bottleneck.

DFDS adds extra space to Vlaardingen terminal

This great photo has been slightly manipulated to show how the extra terminal space just added to the Vlaardingen terminal will look when completed. The area in question is the one to the left of the basin, seen from the ship entrance to the terminal.

As you know, DFDS has been working on extending the Vlaardingen terminal since 2016, when we started negotiations on the purchase of the 92,000 sq m adjacent land that has so far been used by the Rotterdam Bulk Terminal.

DFDS signed a contract in November 2018, and after almost two years of demolition, cleaning and levelling, the land was officially handed over to DFDS on Wednesday (27 May). It adds a total of 6.4 hectare to the Vlaardingen Terminal.

“We agreed on a 25-year lease contract for the extra land with Port of Rotterdam. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the project was put on hold so that the contractors for sewage, asphalting and lighting had to wait for approval to start up the project again. We also just received the approval for installing the fences required for terminals by the International Ship and Port Facility Security regulations, and for creating an area where we can park up to 150 trailers. This extra space is needed, especially on weekends when the terminal is often full,” says Ralph Bosveld, Terminal Director, Vlaardingen.

“Hopefully, volumes will pick up again soon so we can complete the refurbishment plans and turn the area into the fully equipped ferry terminal it is intended to be.

“When completed, the extra area will enable us to introduce a far better layout of the terminal and – in combination with new digital solutions – ensure a more efficient operation that eliminates the congestion issues we have previously experienced at the busy terminal.”

Massive amount of steel handled in Brevik

On 19 May, M/V Gerda delivered more than 1,000 tonnes of construction steel at the North Sea Terminal in Brevik, Norway. The huge amount of steel was unloaded onto mafi trailers and transported to the storage facility at the terminal, from where it will gradually be sold and delivered to ongoing construction and building projects.

Thorbjørn Aasig Lund, North Sea Terminal Director, says: “This delivery is part of a new contract to handle and store up to 12,000 tonnes spread over potentially 12 calls on a yearly basis

“These volumes previously went via the terminal in Larvik, so it is very good news that we are able to attract extra calls and cargo in these uncertain times. I am also proud that North Sea Terminal is performing and providing services at a high level.”

“We will continue our strong collaboration with local and international businesses and make sure that the goods are handled and delivered to the customers in an efficient and safe manner.”

Kasper Damgaard, VP and Head of BU Forest & Metal and Client Engagement, says: “We are pleased to see how collaboration and dedication in our organisation has generated additional business within our steel activities, continuously supporting our Win23 strategy for selected industries.”

Morgan Olausson, VP and Head of BU North Sea North, says: “This contract is part of BUNSN’s strategy for the coming years, to strengthen and expand our operations in the terminals to handle various types of goods arriving in bulk vessels such as building materials, steel, sand etc. The terminal in Brevik is a brilliant example of a terminal that works very flexibly regardless of the type of goods.”

Being a better neighbour in Vlaardingen

Vlaardingen: Noise complaints from residents near the terminal were taken seriously and resolved, as parked reefer trailers were found to be the cause.


Often we find opportunities to improve best practice and take steps to be a more responsible neighbour where we have our operations. This was the case in Vlaardingen recently, when reefer trailers were at times parked in unfortunate locations and causing a noise nuisance to nearby residents because of their cooling systems.

The Vlaardingen terminal had been receiving complaints from residents for some time and it was not possible to identify the cause, as there were never any vessels in the port at time of night mentioned in the complaints. A low, humming noise audible in the neighbourhood was causing restless nights despite regular checks by the Dutch Environmental Department, who could not detect the noise and found that our operations were within the legal noise limits.

Operations Director for Vlaardingen Terminal Ralph Bosveld says: “Though we complied with regulations, it didn’t solve the problem, and I was invited to a meeting with the residents and the local Socialist Party (SP) to discuss a campaign to reduce industrial noise in Vlaardingen. The only thing I thought could make noise during the night were the running fridges of the reefer trailers, and we only have a few. We used to park them in random locations, but since the meeting, we parked them all close to the noise barrier.”

“A company of environmental specialists helped us find the best area for the reefers in order to minimise the noise. Since then, complaints have significantly decreased, and I was happy to hear that the SP appreciated our willingness to listen and our approach to solving the problem. They also gave the positive story to the press,” Ralph adds.

Head of CSR Sofie Hebeltoft says: “I was pleased to hear Ralph’s story about how he and his colleagues dealt with the situation and found a solution, taking complaints seriously and going the extra mile. It demonstrates our desire at DFDS to be a responsible and caring neighbour as part of our CSR strategy. It’s also a good example of finding best practice that we share with other parts of the business who may face the same problem.”

Smart drone tested in Ghent Terminal

Scanning of trailers and added security features are becoming reality


There was buzzing in the Ghent terminal on Wednesday 13 November, as a drone was being put to early testing. It’s an interesting security and operational support tool that can be added to our terminal toolbox.

The drone is being developed in cooperation with manufacturer Lorenz Technology and security specialists G4S.

Far from the household robotic vacuum cleaner, the drone automatically scans trailer numbers and keeps track of their locations on the terminal. The use of drones can enhance our overview of the terminal so we can improve services towards our customers, and for example assist in detecting stowaways.

Mads Bentzen Billesø, Project Manager in Innovation & Technology, says: “The testing of the basic functions went well. Future developments include damage detection for trailers, scanning terminal fences and advanced area surveillance, which are very interesting prospects.”

Can a ship actually swallow this?

People who do not work in DFDS, would probably not believe that this huge bridge part could actually be loaded onto a ship and sailed across the water from Vlaardingen to Immingham.

44 meters long, 2.9 meters wide, and weighing 68 gross tons (including the trucks transporting the cargo), these parts were at a weight class in a whole other division than the usual cargo.

However, our colleagues know it can, and enthusiastically took up the challenge. After several weeks of preparation, six special transport loads were shipped by Gardenia Seaways on the Rotterdam-Immingham route in one lot. The bridge parts are used for the construction of a bridge for junction 7 on the M4 by Huntercombe.

Due to out of gauge dimensions lorries could only drive and enter our Vlaardingen Terminal in the evening-time under escort.

“With large cargo like this, manoeuvring during the day causes a lot of practical challenges in traffic. Doing it in the evening means that less cars on the road are affected by the transport ensuring a safer and easier escort to lead its movement. There is also less traffic on our terminal at that time.” says Ger van der Vliet, Shipping Logistics Manager.

“Thank you to all staff on the terminals in Rotterdam and Immingham, agencies and the crew on board Gardenia Seaways for the professional team support and collaboration. Job well done”.

Great visit to Pendik

During his tour of Pendik earlier this week, Torben Carlsen met many colleagues in the port and agency. At a staff meeting, he informed them about the status of DFDS and the implementation of our Win23 strategy and its significance to BU Med.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit our port operation in Pendik. On a tour of the port, Port Operations Manager Levent Sinel explained how the operation has seriously improved recently. For example, loading and unloading of Ephesus took 18 hours at the beginning – this week it took only 10 hours.

Apart from the dedication of our colleagues, the improvement has also been supported by the simplification of our route network, which means that all vessels from Pendik now call at Trieste whereas before, France-bound vessels also called at Pendik but are now calling from Yalova. And as agency manager Arif Akkoz and Lars Hoffmann told me, the first steps in our improvement work have so far resulted in a more structured operation that has removed the queues we have previously seen building up at the terminal gate.

I was also very pleased to listen to Levent explaining the extensive safety measures undertaken at the port following the recent tragic incident in Trieste, emphasising that speed of operation must never happen at the expense of safety.

After the tour, I had the opportunity to meet the full crew in Pendik. I was thrilled to see the motivation and eagerness of all my colleagues to do a good job for our customers and was challenged by a few of my colleagues with questions showing their focus and dedication.

Torben Carlsen

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

Karlshamn improves check-in for customers

Johan Stegerö, Freight Manager, says: “All self-service kiosks at the gate in Karlshamn have been updated to accept both QR codes and bar codes. This means drivers who need to drop off or pick up trailers can use the DFDS Freight Terminals app to check if units are available and then scan the QR code to pass the gate instead of typing the release number manually.

“The same functionality is implemented in the gates for accompanied traffic, meaning regardless of having a freight booking in Phoenix or a passenger booking in Seabook, the gate may be passed by scanning the code from the various apps, or printed tickets.

“Solutions like these are really win-win for everyone. The drivers and passengers can check in a lot faster and we ensure an even smoother operation at the terminal during peak hours.

The feedback on this new function has been good. We always strive to make it easier for our customers to operate at our terminal so it is great to see that customer service improvements like this are well received.”

The self-service kiosks at the gate in Karlshamn 

Major improvements to terminal management system in key locations

The team responsible for rolling out upgrades to terminal systems. From left: Lee Collins, Phil Henning, Sam Ling, Matthew Penistone, Amber Horth, David Maynard, Ian Clipsham, Matthew Woodward, George McDowall, Mark Silvey and Carl Robinson. Team members not pictured: Fiona Hoad, Daryl Leak, Stephen Foster, Keith Williams and Patrick Short


Big things are happening in our freight terminals, with six key terminals now fully up to date with the latest version of the terminal management software and thus the ideal foundation for future development. It also supports Pillar B of the Win23 strategy: Digitising services to accelerate growth.

The software, called Group Terminal Management System (GTMS), is key to all operations for freight at a terminal, including the functions of the gates and the planning involving the vessels carrying ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off), side-port and lo-lo (lift-on/lift-off) units.

Terminals in Vlaardingen, Ghent, Immingham, Gothenburg, Brevik and Copenhagen were all working with different software versions. The GTMS was also built on an older technological framework, which is a legacy solution by current standards today and would have difficulties to support in the future. Now they have been unified and standardised in staggered rollouts over the last 14 months with a new, flexible and scalable GTMS.

This single system allows terminal staff to have an overview of operations and the precise information needed to carry out various tasks, such as a foreman using GTMS to plan the optimal use of the tugmasters to carry freight on and off the ferries, prioritising in the loading of containers to and from hauliers. It also makes it possible to manage the movements and position of every new car handled at the terminals into lanes for export, import and individual vehicle dispatch.

The importance of the GTMS cannot be overstated. It is critical to terminal operations. Over 3.6 million work orders have been made so far in 2019, each of these being the moving of a unit from one place to another. This is not counting port location warehouse activities, for which GTMS supports the handling and inventory management of approximately 1.6 million tonnes of forest and metals products.

Amber Horth, Product Owner, says: “In addition to immediate improvements, this roll-out enables a future-proofing of the terminals. The system becomes better and more stable in its functions, while allowing new components to be built on top and more easily rolled out, without specialists having to physically visit and perform installations at each terminal.”

Sean Potter, Divisional Head, Digital & Systems, says: “GTMS is in the capable hands of a structured team, with a new product owner and a team of analysts that have made a huge effort with the installations and supporting work in this period. This makes a big difference to the terminals. They can now be more easily improved with projects for their particular needs. This includes the new gate system in Ghent, improved Graphical Planner functionality for loading and discharging of vessels and Work Order Manager features advancing the Priority-Based Booking project, as well as updated software for the tugmasters’ on-board computers at all sites. This greatly supports the Win23 strategy and our ambition for enabling growth by digitising services.”

GTMS team members testing an installed kiosk, from top left: Matthew Penistone, Ian Clipsham, Matthew Penistone (again), Sam Ling, Fiona Hoad and Phil Henning

Trieste – the gateway for Turkey to Europe

Jens Peder Nielsen, Managing Director of our terminal in Trieste. Here seen in front of Ephesus Seaways

A little over a year ago, Jens Peder Nielsen started as Managing Director of our terminal in Trieste, Italy. Since then, optimisation of the terminal has been a high priority. In March and June, our colleagues in Trieste welcomed Ephesus and Troy fresh from the Jinling Shipyard in China. There have also been several completed and ongoing developments in this thriving terminal.

Access to free trade flow and excellent infrastructure 
The Port of Trieste operates under free port regulations. This means it is outside the customs area and is a free-trade zone where goods may be unloaded, stored and shipped without payment of customs duties and with significantly reduced customs procedures. Additionally, in most European countries there is a limited number of annual transit permits provided to Turkish transport and logistics operators. However, the free port status provides access to a free trade flow without limitation of permits, making Trieste a very attractive terminal.

Jens Peder says: “The terminal also offers great intermodal solutions as the Port of Trieste has one of the best infrastructures in Italy when it comes to rail connections, a business segment with a lot of potential and already in growth. We are therefore very happy to see Emil Hausgaard joining the team in Trieste to work on intermodal connections between the Mediterranean and northern Europe as well as optimising shipping and intermodal schedules.”

Optimisation comes in many different shapes and forms
The terminal was recently visited by Sam De Wilde, MD in Ghent and head of the Terminal Excellence Project. They discussed the operations practices at the terminal and shared experiences from other terminals. The options were also evaluated for a new automatic gate system, like the one in Ghent.

Terminal layout and facilities
“During the visit, we also examined the capacity optimisation with regard to the terminal layout. As a concrete example, we realised that our parking slots at the terminal were rather wide. Instead of the 3.5-metre standard width at other terminals, they were four metres wide which meant that a lot of capacity could be created without expanding the terminal area,” says Jens Peder.

“Earlier this year we replaced the old lighting at the terminal with LED, reducing the energy consumption and maintenance costs and prolonging the lifespan significantly. The switch to LED will reduce the electricity consumption cost by EUR 50,000 per year and have a two-year payback period.

“At the end of the year, we will also have installed a new CCTV system at the terminal. With the old system, we were bound to have several guards patrol the terminal every day and night which is very costly. The new CCTV will allow 24/7 surveillance, with guards observing from the control room and ready to respond at any time. This is also something that the government is very happy to see as illegal immigrants often try to cross the border.

“During September we will launch the correct mooring facilities to accommodate our mega freight ferries, Troy and Ephesus. This means that all three ramps will be utilised during loading and unloading operations. We will of course share this story when it is ready.”

Tugmasters in Copenhagen test cleaner fuel

In Copenhagen three Tugmasters are testing fuel made from natural gas, which reduces smell and local pollutants compared to conventional fuels


A ferry terminal is a very busy place with heavy cargo and trucks moving around at a fast pace, and we constantly work to improve the performance in the terminal and to reduce the impact of the operation on the surrounding areas.

A test is now being carried out in the Copenhagen terminal to run the all-important tugmasters on cleaner fuel made from natural gas, the so-called gas-to-liquids (GTL).

The Shell GTL fuel reduces smell, particle pollution and noise compared to running vehicles on diesel or other conventional fuels, improving the air quality in and around the terminal.

Henrik Nørager, Port Captain, says: “The tugmasters are busy vehicles, loading and unloading trailers and other cargo from the ferries. We began the trial a few weeks ago with one vehicle, and now three are running on GTL fuel. The difference it makes is immediately noticeable, and should the testing continue to show good results over the next few months, we can run three more vehicles on the fuel as the next step. Following that we will consider using it in other locations.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “This test supports the CSR strategy of being a responsible neighbour, as it is especially concerned with minimising the presence of local pollutants, the NOx and SOx, as well as reducing the noise from the tugmasters’ engines. It is a step on the way to potentially replacing conventional fuels with other energy sources that run even more cleanly.”

New tool: The Terminal Excellence Database shares best practices between terminals

Picture taken during the terminal assessment visit in Pendik. From left to right, Mark Reeve, Levent Sinel, Alicia Chevalier, Arif Akkoz, John Wikstrom and Arzu Dedebas

More than a year ago, the Terminal Excellence project was launched to create a structured way of documenting and sharing best practices among terminals across the group making it easier to learn from each other and improve operations. This has proven a success with 75 practices available on a sharepoint based database.

The first step was to define the ideal state for functional areas on the terminals. As an example: for a terminal gate, the ideal state is that truckers/drivers do not stop at all. To get there, we need to standardize and automate the process of identifying the driver, the truck, the trailer and whether there is a booking number available or not.

As can be expected, none of the terminals has reached the ideal state yet, but the ideal state is now defined for all main areas on our terminals, so the direction is clear and aligned.

Yearly self-assessment and peer terminal site visit for each terminal
To understand what state the terminals are in today, a maturity assessment tool was developed by a team consisting of representatives from all terminals.

Sam De Wilde, Managing Director of DFDS Seaways NV, says: “With this tool, terminals do a yearly self-assessment giving scores to certain areas within terminal operations like gate, yard management and vessel operations. Additionally, a peer terminal site visit by the team is carried out that validates the scores of assessed areas while discovering best practices. The terminals explain how the current process works in the given area followed by a review of the self-scoring where local practices as well as best practices from other locations are discussed. The site visit is concluded with a calibrated scoring (available for all terminals) and an action list with action items identified as improvement potential.

Continuous improvement through sharing
“Two years into the initiative, we have documented 75 best practices from the different terminals (Ghent, Gothenburg, Immingham, Pendik, Trieste and Vlaardingen) and uploaded them to the sharepoint database. The first round of assessments and site visits were done in 2018. Additionally, site visits to Trieste and Pendik have been concluded” says Sam.

For 2019, terminals are updating scores in improved areas. Next steps are to create an action plan for every terminal with improvements to work on in the next year and identify a joint project to work on together with all terminals.

“The database is currently accessible to all people involved in its creation and in the Functional Excellence project, however it could be even more useful if more people have access to it. So, if you would like to get access to it, feel free to reach out to Alicia Chevalier who will happily send you the access link.”

“Special thanks to Mark Reeve, Graham Spencer (in Immingham), Levent Sinel, Arif Akkoz (in Pendik), John Wikstrom (in Gothenburg), Yannick Maes (in Ghent), Marco Furlan (in Trieste), Jorik van Oosterom and Richard van Kleef (in Vlaardingen) for their support and valuable inputs on this project.”

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

DFDS takes over GWM, provider of stevedoring in Ghent

DFDS has taken over GWM, the company providing operations, gate and tallying services for DFDS in Ghent. “We have been working with them for many years as they were already operating at the Mercatordok Multimodal Terminal for Volvo Group Logistics before DFDS took over the terminal,” says Sam De Wilde, Managing Director at DFDS Seaways NV.

Their history in Ghent goes back to 1890 when the municipality granted all rights for the weighing and measuring in the Port of Ghent to the ‘Municipal Sworn Weighers and Measurers’ – or in Dutch: Gezworen Wegers en Meters (GWM).

Whereas the original activity was mostly about weight and quantity estimations, their range of activities has grown significantly over the last 129 years. Today the 29 staff offer surveys (draught, barge, on/offhire, bunker- and hold conditions), tallying, supervision and operations (vessel operations, gate operations, damage reporting, inspections) as well as measuring, (sampling, temperature control, density checks ..).

Raf De Wit continues as Terminal Director
For DFDS, the main activity has been vessel operations, gate operations and tallying. Raf de Wit, the owner of the company, has been heading the operations at Mercatordok Multimodal Terminal for DFDS for many years, and now he officially becomes Terminal Director for Ghent for DFDS. He continues to report to Sam De Wilde.

Strategic fit
“GWM is a great fit for DFDS as we have worked well together for many years, and they already handle many of our activities. Additionally, we see a further growth potential in the other services offered to third party customers. It increases the broad range of services already offered by DFDS in Belgium and enables us to offer any service requested by our end customers ourselves,” says Sam De Wilde. “I welcome all the new colleagues to DFDS and look forward to working with them.”

Raf de Wit, previous owner of GWM, will continue as Terminal Director reporting to Sam de Wilde

Seaport Police does a check for illegal migrants in Vlaardingen

The Seaport Police organised for the second time a 100% check for immigrants in trailers on our terminal in Vlaardingen. The first time was in October 2018, where 11 immigrants were found.

Richard van Kleef, Manager General Stevedoring, Gate & Security, says “As we see a rise in illegal migrants trying to pass the border to the UK, the authorities once again organised, in cooperation with DFDS, a 100% check on every trailer that was coming into our gates prior for shipping. The check took place this morning between 05:15hrs – 09:30hrs and 200 units were checked. There were no illegal migrants found which we call a success.”

“The media was also invited and had permission to get insight into how the Seaport Police and authorities check a trailer with dog patrols. Normally we have our own dog patrol but for today we received assistance from the authorities.
We are extremely pleased for this cooperation with the authorities. We believe we all can learn by sharing experiences to ensure we all improve our skills and security, which is necessary in the light of the growing number of illegal migrants trying to get to the UK via our terminal and ships.”

Vlaardingen takes measures against an increasing number of migrants

In line with the recent development in our other terminals, the Vlaardingen terminal has seen an increased number of migrants trying to cross the North Sea to the UK. Last Saturday, security and dock patrols found 34 migrants in a trailer driven by a Romanian truck driver. The migrants are of unknown nationality.

“We have seen a trend lately, where an unusual number of trailer bookings are made via external agents and not directly with DFDS. This has made us suspicious and as a culmination on this trend and due to the already increasing number of migrants trying to cross the North Sea, we have made the decision to implement a new procedure. This procedure aims at increasing the chances of finding potential migrants before they cross to the UK,” says Ralph Bosveld, Operations Director at the Vlaardingen terminal.

Taking the right precautions is worthwhile for DFDS. If the UK border control finds migrants crossing from Vlaardingen, they will be sent back with a DFDS vessel, occupying cabins and leaving DFDS to pay the cost of the security staff that are obligated to escort them back to the Netherlands.

“On the terminal, we have for instance installed thermal imaging cameras at the gates and organised additional canine dock patrols that are effective at locating migrants who might be hiding in or under trailers. Additionally, every time a booking is made via a questionable external agent, our colleagues will flag the booking internally to make sure that the trailers will be checked on arrival. This method led to locating the 34 migrants.”

“It is always great to see that the initiatives we set in motion are working, and I want to thank the security crew and teams at Vlaardingen for doing a fantastic job,” concludes Ralph.

Last Saturday, security and dock patrols found 34 migrants in a trailer driven by a Romanian truck driver. The migrants are of unknown nationality.

DFDS is testing intelligent drones

Watch the video featuring Lorenz AI-Link® trailer detection technology, which is being tested in DFDS terminals and is designed to assist with efficiency and safety using autonomous drones.


DFDS is developing and testing drones that can help us keep track of the trailers in the terminals in cooperation with Lorenz Technology, a Danish company developing drones based on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The drones can autonomously zip around the terminal locating trailers, scanning and analysing trailer numbers, while integrating a real-time data flow to terminal management systems. This data can help terminal staff with different tasks, including precise location of trailers and improved weight management when loading ferries for increased operating efficiency.

The capabilities were successfully demonstrated in Vlaardingen and Esbjerg on 10 April 2019 and will be demonstrated to an EU delegation and to Danish Maritime Authority and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology at two separate events in Copenhagen on 28 May.

The drones will be further developed and expanded in the EU-funded OptiPort project with partners; Lorenz Technology, G4S and DFDS. The project will develop and integrate trailer ID and location, damage detection, verification of labels for hazardous materials and furthermore with partner G4S develop numerous security features, including detection and tracking of intruders, displaying their location real-time on 3D maps.

Mads Bentzen Billesø, DFDS Senior Project manager says: “The development of vision technology, AI and drones are going really fast and as with other technologies we would like to be involved and support this development. We will gather valuable knowledge about using intelligent tools which will undoubtedly be part of the future of just about everything.”

If you want to hear more about this, please contact:
Mads Bentzen Billesø –

The video was provided by Lorenz Technology. You can read about their work with DFDS here and also watch a short interview with Mads.

New bicycle area at Dunkerque Terminal

The brand new bicycle storage area at the terminal in Dunkerque

On our Dover – France routes we carry around 15,000 bicycles and their passengers every year, and this is an extremely popular mode of travel for our customers travelling from all markets.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: “We value our customer feedback, and a recurring comment was that they would appreciate a bicycle storage area at our port in Dunkerque. We have therefore established a dedicated area where pushbikes can be stored while our customers are waiting to board the ship in Dunkerque. This will allow our guests to enjoy the terminal facilities and feel confident about leaving their bikes in a safe and dry area. We have already tested the facility on our first bicycling passengers, and they were absolutely delighted.”

Delphine Blanquart, Terminal Operations Manager, Dunkerque & Calais, says: “This is a great new addition to our terminal facilities in Dunkerque, and we were so pleased to get the new bicycle park installed quickly, allowing customers to feel that we appreciate their comments and care about their bicycles. Our operations team has already started to promote the new facility at the check-in point to create awareness amongst our customers.”

New volume record on Immingham route created ships get-together in Vlaardingen

A rare sight in week 11 – Four DFDS ferries converge in Vlaardingen, gathering to alleviate the pressure of an extraordinary number of waiting trailers. Pictured are Tulipa, Finlandia, Anglia and Britannia.


The record from week 9 did not last for very long, as employees at the Dutch and UK terminals and offices managed to organise and load a staggering 52,328 lane metres in week 11, beating the previous record by 2,012 lane metres. This also meant that on two occasions, four DFDS vessels were in port together.

This was only possible due to the capability and flexibility of our fleet and our colleagues, both in Vlaardingen and in the UK. The demand for extra capacity to the UK is probably the result of stockpiling, due to a potential Brexit in late March. Finlandia Seaways assisted on the Felixstowe route this weekend, and both Gardenia and Tulipa Seaways made additional roundtrips to and from Immingham on Sunday, which resulted in high volumes at both terminals.

Delays during terminal operations and to vessel departures were inevitable, but thanks to the great efforts by everyone involved at all the ports, we managed to turn this into a success and to fly higher than ever before. Once again, a huge thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Credit for the photos goes to Peter Brusendal Sørensen, Chief Officer on Britannia, and Paul Lammers, Route Operations Manager, North Sea South.

A great view and a huge effort from all involved at sea and on shore. Pictured are Gardenia, Finlandia, Suecia and Britannia.

Week 11 saw a volume record at the North Sea Terminals made possible by our flexible fleet and the outstanding work of our employees.



App update can cut 30% of terminal check-in time for lorries

With a clever app update from Digital we will start reducing check-in times in several terminals, Klaipėda being the first to support the QR code system.


Putting a product to a real-life test is when you discover whether it’s really adding value. In February two members of Digital, Mikolaj Matyaszczyk from the UX (User Experience) team and Hasan Ünal, App Product owner, went to Klaipėda to test an update to the DFDS Terminals app. They were joined by Gintaras Laucius, product manager in the Ferry Division.

The update allows truck drivers to pass the terminal gates using a simple QR code. The test suggests the new feature will improve the flow into the terminals by allowing drivers to save 30-50 seconds, more than 30% on average of the check-in time.

Several more terminals are preparing to use the new codes, with Vlaardingen nearly ready, then Ghent planned for May, and later Immingham and Gothenburg as well.


Thinking ahead and good collaboration

The QR code scanning is possible due to a timely effort, says Gintaras: “I’m very pleased that back in 2016 together with the General Terminal Management System team we predicted the future and made a set-up to use mobile devices at the terminal. Now we have agreed with IT and Digital to push further developments.”

The project is a great example of collaboration between the business, IT, and Digital. Mikolaj explains:
“In the UX team we rely heavily on passionate business drivers to help us build seamless and valuable digital products. In this case, the collaboration has been outstanding.”

The app update is part of an increased focus on using apps to improve efficiency and user experience on the go. Digital also started work on a brand new DFDS app, a travel and transport assistant developed by our skilled Turkish development team. The new app will be personalised to accommodate the needs of individual users, be they truck drivers, solo passengers, business travellers or a family on holiday.

From left: Gintaras Laucius, project manager, Hasan Ünal, product owner on the mobile app and Mikolaj Matyaszczyk, UX team manager in Klaipėda

Dutch Ministers visit DFDS Vlaardingen to discuss Brexit

Currently, Brexit seems to be the hottest lasting topic in European politics and media.

Netherland’s Brexit preparations were on the agenda on Wednesday 13 March when the ferry division in Vlaardingen welcomed a group of 50 people, including Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Corporations, Sigrid Kaag as well as media.

Following Route Director Jacob Andersen’s welcoming words, the ministers presented their views on Brexit, and a panel of directors from the Dutch Food and Consumer Authority, the Dutch Royal Military Police, Dutch Customs, Portbase, Dutch Police and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management answered questions about Brexit and how to prepare for it.

The director of Portbase (the Port Community System for the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam) explained the Dutch approach and, a campaign in which many ferry operators are taking part.

After the presentations, the group went to the main gate where all trailers enter and leave our terminal. Here, Brexit flyers were handed out to external truck drivers to make them aware of Brexit and what they and their employers should do to be as prepared as possible. Before the meeting ended, the ministers and the directors from the various authorities were interviewed one-to-one near Anglia Seaways, which was loaded for her departure to Felixstowe.

A special thanks goes out to all people involved in a well-organised meeting, which gave DFDS good publicity.

Panel of directors from the Dutch Food and Consumer Authority, the Dutch Royal Military Police, Dutch Customs, Portbase, Dutch Police and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management answered questions about Brexit and how to prepare for it.