Agreement opens French border

In an agreement between France and the UK, ferry passengers and lorry drivers can again enter France with a negative Covid-19 test.

Entry into France was banned from Sunday because of the mutant coronavirus found in the UK, and this has caused massive traffic congestion on the motorway towards Dover, where the UK Government has initiated the so-called operations stack – placing the many waiting trucks in a special area.

The ferries sailed nearly empty from Dover, but now there is light at the end of the tunnel for the many lorry drivers and travellers stuck in their cars and lorries without access to water and toilets for days – and waiting to get home for Christmas.

Due to an agreement with the UK, France again opened its borders for lorry drivers and other passengers who travel for essential reasons, and the first passengers left Dover early today, Wednesday 23 December.

Negative Covid-19 test

Passengers are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result upon departure in UK and upon arrival in France that has been conducted within 72 hours of travel. The UK Government is setting up test centres, and for a short time, the French authorities will accept quick tests – the so-call antigen tests – that can provide a result within 30 minutes.

However, with about 4000 trucks waiting, it will take days to get them all to France, and DFDS is considering offering additional sailings on 24 December to help the many who struggle to get home to their families for Christmas

Only EU citizens returning home and those travelling for essential reasons, including lorry drivers, will be able to travel.

DFDS’ passenger and freight departments are already busy informing travelers and lorry drivers about this, including that passengers without a valid, negative test, will be denied boarding and should not come to the port.

DFDS ensures essential transport to the UK

Seven Sisters in Newhaven.

The UK Government has agreed contracts worth GBP 77.6 million in total with four ferry companies to ensurferry capacity for transport of vital goods like medicine and food during the first few months after the end of the Brexit transition period.  

“The transition period is set to end on 31 December 2020 and unless the EU and the UK agree a trade deal before this, there will be customs procedures for all transport across borders. The Government’s funding is to ensure that possible bottlenecks caused by this won’t endanger the supply of those vital goods,” says Kell Robdrup, SVP and Head of BU North Sea South. 

For DFDS, it means that we will receive funding to ensure sufficient capacity for those vital goods on the Dieppe – Newhaven and Felixstowe – Rotterdam routes.  

The routes funded are those that are closest to the Dover – France routes where the Government sees the highest risk of disruption to traffic. Also, they expect that some of the driveraccompanied transport will change to unaccompanied transport, meaning that no driver will be accompanying the trailers, which is a specialty of our Felixstowe – Rotterdam route.  

“We can all be really proud of the role DFDS plays in assisting the government with guarantee of the delivery of those vital goodsIt benefits people throughout the UK.

New UK quarantine rules pose huge challenge

Photo by John Bryant

As a consequence of the increasing infection rates in the Netherlands and France, the UK has decided on new travel guidance. This means that passengers arriving from those and some other countries into the UK are requested to go into quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Especially on the Channel, this has immediately caused a surge in passenger numbers as many want to get back before 04:00 on Saturday when the new quarantine rules come into force.

DFDS reacted immediately and increased number of departures and passenger capacity on ferries on the eastern Channel for key departures to help as many as possible of those who want to return to the UK before the new rules apply.

“We have also created a range of emails, social media messages, announcements on the internet and other means of communication to inform our passengers about the quarantine rules so they are not caught in a bad situation,” says Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

He adds: “We have decided that our passengers on the eastern Channel and the IJmuiden – Newcastle routes can change their bookings free of charge up to 24 hours before departure, and now also offer our passengers the option to postpone their travel until September 2021 so their money isn’t lost if they can’t travel.”

“These are times when things change from day to day and from hour to hour. The new quarantine rules are not good news for us, but I am extremely encouraged by the way everyone has reacted to this. To everyone in Marketing, Sales, Operations and On-Board Services, HR – and everyone in Dover, France, Newcastle and IJmuiden: I Just can’t thank you enough for your hard work and huge achievement. It makes me really proud and it supports our customers and benefits DFDS when it is really needed,” says Kasper.

“And I hope that we will soon see the infection rate go down again so quarantine becomes unnecessary and travelling gets as easy as it should be.”

Covid-19: Newcastle – Amsterdam route resumes service from 15 July

Princess Seaways

Following the announcements from the UK government about the lifting of quarantine restrictions and the restart of travel to many other countries, DFDS is resuming sailings between Amsterdam and Newcastle. As both ships are laid up in IJmuiden, the first departures will take place on Wednesday 15 July from IJmuiden and Thursday 16 July from Newcastle.

In addition, our English Channel services between the UK and France are available again to holidaymakers from the 10th July. The Channel routes have continued to sail throughout the Covid-19 period for freight and essential travellers only ensuring the transport of vital goods to communities both sides of the channel.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers says, “We are very pleased that we are finally able to welcome our passengers back to our routes between the UK & Continent. However, we will be running on significantly reduced capacity and reduced onboard services as part of our COVID-19 measures to ensure the safety of all staff and passengers”.

“These restrictions mean we will continue to evaluate staff and crew requirements whilst we monitor booking developments closely. Whilst some people will return to work very shortly, many of you will remain on temporary leave for a while longer and we will be in touch with all colleagues to keep them updated on next steps.

I want to express my gratitude for your continued patience and support during the many weeks this route has been suspended.”

Adapted onboard services
Services will be adapted onboard to ensure social distancing and the onboard catering offering has temporarily changed.

On the Channel services, we offered complimentary meals to essential travellers during the crisis and we are now extending that to all passengers and including it within the ticket price.

On the Amsterdam Newcastle service, all meals must be pre-booked before boarding and à la carte dining will not be available.  A reduced buffet service will be available, and all food will be served to passengers by our crew.

You can find out more about the new safety measures onboard here:

A new way to travel
Kasper Moos added, “I’m really looking forward to starting up the service after this extended period without a route between Amsterdam and Newcastle and welcoming holidaymakers back to our Channel routes. I am confident that together we can ensure that our passengers relax and enjoy their crossings while practising social distancing.”

Palletised bricks from DK to UK

16 March was a special day for Immingham as the Shipping Logistics Division for the first time chartered a side port bulk vessel loaded with palletised bricks from Thyboron (Denmark) to Immingham (UK). Following several weeks of negotiations with customer, UK Brick, and supplier, NRSB, it was rewarding to witness the first and last pallet discharged from the vessel, on time and in full.

Mike Hughes, Commercial Manager, says: “The success of this first service will now lead to more regular flows. We expect to have one per month, and approximately 20,000t of product per annum. From our dedicated brick storage point in Immingham, UK Brick distributes the product to all areas of the UK. The brick storage facility added significant value to the customer during the abrupt COVID-19 lockdown, which enabled the customer to require a second service on 27 April, even though much of the UK construction market was non-operational. “

The gradual easing of the lockdown has allowed the construction market to re-start operations, which has already seen all stock from the first vessel delivered and significant levels of stock from the second service also delivered. This has ensured the third service, scheduled to arrive on 29 June will continue as planned.

Mike says: “The customer is absolutely delighted with the service provided by DFDS, and the full door to door service offering, which includes the vessel chartering. This is a really big and important win, even more so during these strange times. A huge thank you goes out to all those involved in developing and delivering this new service, and we look forward to continuing with this new business for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.”

25 years with Nordic Terminal

Music: Brainstorm by Rex Banner

Since 1866, DFDS’ ships have been sailing to the Humber area in the UK with goods and products, however at that time we did not have our own terminal and mostly used the service offered at the ports, particularly in Grimsby. When DFDS acquired Tor Line in 1981, our business at the port of Immingham grew, and 14 years later, it was decided to establish our own terminal, DFDS Nordic Terminal. That is now 25 years ago and to mark this anniversary, Group Communication has gathered some of the events that have happened during the 25 years together with a greeting from Peder Gellert.

Andrew Byrne, Managing Director of Nordic Terminal, says, “Whilst our 25-year anniversary at Immingham sees us living through a period of uncertainty and disruption around the world, this is not the first major challenge DFDS has faced and will probably not be the last. Immingham has always played a significant and responsible part in keeping trade moving across DFDS pan-European network and the dependability for transportation of food and other commodities is needed now more than ever.”

I am proud to work with the team at Immingham who always show a “can-do” approach and we will continue to address issues and work together to find solutions.”

“We all look forward to celebrate the anniversary with events at a time when the pandemic is no longer a threat.”

DOVER SEAWAYS joins appreciation of NHS and Essential Workers

Dover Seaways took part in the nationwide show of appreciation for the National Health Service(NHS), care workers and essential key workers across the UK on 2 April, by sounding the horn at 8pm BST.

Setting sail from the Port of Dover, and joining the industry-wide effort, Dover Seaways’ horn was sounded at position 51°01.830’N 001°44.841’E, to mark the incredible efforts and critical work being carried out by so many in current times.

We let our UK Facebook and Twitter fans know to listen out for the horn, in what was the first post shared that moved away from the crisis communications that began a little over three weeks ago. It was followed up with the above video shared with us by the Dover Operations Team who captured it from the shore.

With almost three quarters of a million followers across all our passenger social media profiles, it has been essential to communicate frequently and effectively right where our customers are, on social media.

We’ve worked with the wider Passenger Marketing, Customer Service and Port teams to ensure consistent updates so it was lovely to see such a positive response to the post.

From this week we will begin carefully sharing content again to keep our audiences engaged, starting with the profiles in the Nordics, Continent and UK.

The team always welcome photos and ideas for sharing content across the social media channels, and as we’ve seen our customers very much appreciate our efforts while navigating through these difficult times.


Annabelle Vallance wins talent award

When it was time to celebrate emerging business talents in the Humber region, it came as no surprise that the spotlight landed on one of our very own colleagues, Annabelle Vallance, HR Manager. With her positive aura and work within HR, she has been recognised with a well-deserved winning spot on the Hull & Humber Top 30 Under 30 list.

Annabelle says: “In the midst of the madness, I am honoured to be involved in this. Thank you to DFDS for nominating me. I would also like to thank all of my lovely supportive colleagues and team. Without you I wouldn’t be the best I could possibly be. I can’t wait to get started!”

Together with the other 29 winners, Annabelle will attend a 12-month programme that will include management training.

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, EVP and Head of People Division, says: “I want to congratulate Annabelle on this great recognition. One of the many factors contributing to this is her engagement and management of our UK Graduate programme that has supported many talented candidates in their career, so winning an opportunity to further develop her own talent is quite fitting.”

COVID-19: DFDS Suspends mini-cruises

As governments implement new COVID-19 measures, DFDS Suspends mini-cruises on Amsterdam-Newcastle route. Sailing continues for transportation purposes. Pictured is King Seaways.


DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini cruises until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled, and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

Over the last few days, the Dutch government has taken a number of significant measures as part of efforts to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Included in those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of all bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within the Netherlands.

As a result of this DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini-cruises with immediate effect until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled with immediate effect and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

The Amsterdam Newcastle service will continue to sail for transportation purposes and bookings will remain available. Onboard our service we have already taken significant measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 including:

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

As you know, we have also taken every precaution advised by the World Health Organisation to minimise the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 to protect the health of those travelling.

The customers will receive an email today about this.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of Passenger

DFDS to operate Cold Store in Liverpool

Eddie Green Head of BU Cold Chain, has just expanded business with the operation of Magnavale Group’s cold store in Liverpool. “Our new Liverpool operation will be a strong platform in the North West of England from which to grow further,” says Matt O’Dell, MD.


BU Cold Chain takes over operation of the Magnavale Group’s cold store in Simonswood in Liverpool on Monday 6 April. BU Cold Chain’s transport operation in Warrington will also move to Liverpool.

DFDS has been working with the Magnavale Group since 2015, providing transport services to customers using Magnavale’s cold storage services. In an important strategic move, BU Cold Chain will take over the operation of Magnavale’s Liverpool cold store on Monday 6 April.

“We have now entered a period of consultation with all affected staff, and we look forward to welcoming our 30 new colleagues into the DFDS family.” says Eddie Green, Head of BU Cold Chain.

DFDS transport operation in Warrington will also transfer to Liverpool.

First of its kind in DFDS

The cold store has a capacity of 18,000 pallets, including a fully automated chamber holding 10,500 pallets. This will be the first warehouse of its kind in DFDS.

Matt O’Dell, Managing Director, says: “This is a great step for BU Cold Chain. The Liverpool operation will form an important link in the Cold Chain network and enable us to provide more customers with both cold storage and transportation services, which will give us a strong platform in the North West of England from which to grow further.”

“The business will be led by Andy Thompson and great credit should go to Andy for his part in negotiating the deal and securing new customers in advance of DFDS taking over the operation. This will ensure a healthy start to the new venture,” Eddie says.

Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of the Logistics Division says: “This is an important development in fulfilling the ambitions of our Win23 strategy and the ambition to grow in the cold chain industry. I congratulate Eddie and his team with this important win.”

New opportunities with ambient warehouse in Scotland

New opportunities arise in Scotland as Coatbridge operation relocates to a new ambient warehouse in Larkhall.


Late last month we opened a new ambient warehouse to our existing site at Middleton Avenue, Larkhall.

As of 27 January, DFDS Coatbridge staff and operations have relocated from rented premises to the new ambient warehouse in Larkhall.

The warehouse, at 30,000 square feet, offers ambient storage capacity and transhipment options with a racking system that can hold up to 800 ambient pallets.

Mick Devine, General Manager in Larkhall, says: “We look forward to welcoming Andy Stewart, Depot Manager, and his team as they move from Coatbridge to Larkhall. This will bring great opportunities to both the ambient and cold-chain operation as we promote synergies in our Scottish operation.”

Andy says: “We are excited to be able to offer our existing customers value added services whilst pursuing the great potential in expanding our business here in Scotland.”

“Our team is already in collaboration with other Logistics offices, including Immingham and Special Cargo, and we look forward to developing and expanding our services further.”

Brexit: No changes to DFDS in 2020

Torben Carlsen

When today, 31 January ends, the UK will no longer be member of the EU.
This is sad for many of us. However, there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, during which the UK will follow EU rules. Therefore, there will be no changes to trade during 2020. At DFDS, we will continue working as usual for the rest of the year.

Preparations continue
We do not know what will happen when the transition period ends.

During the transition period, the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement. Hopefully they will reach an agreement that will allow free trade and free flow of goods to continue.
However, we have no guarantee that this will be the case and therefore, we will continue to prepare for the customs procedures that we risk seeing from the beginning of 2021.

We have come far in our preparations, and we have achieved the important Authorised Economic Operator certification in nearly all relevant locations. We will now continue fine-tuning our IT systems and hire and train customs experts so we can offer customs services to our clients. Most importantly, we will continue our work to inform and assist those customers who have not yet had a chance to prepare.

Transition period can be extended
The UK government has until July to ask for an extension of the transition period. However, we do not assume this and plan to be ready for customs control from 1 January 2021.

The UK does not leave DFDS
DFDS will be the same after Brexit. The UK will continue to be a major part of our network as it has been since 1866, and our UK colleagues will be as integrated in the DFDS organisation as they are today.

There is no reason to deny that it has been a frustrating process, and that it is unsatisfactory that the uncertainty about the future continues until we have a trade deal or the transit period ends without one. But I am proud of the way you are handling the Brexit preparations and of your commitment to make the best of it for DFDS. I also have great confidence in the UK’s ability to regain growth when there is again certainty about the future. Therefore, I sleep well in spite of seeing our dear friends in the UK leaving the EU.

Torben Carlsen

Brexit on 31 January but no changes to trading until the end of 2020

The UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.


After months of uncertainty and several Brexit deadlines, the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. This means that the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.

The final stages of ratification of the agreement will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of Parliament having until 9 January to approve the legislation, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.

The negotiations about a trade agreement will be very important for DFDS, our customers and partners. Therefore, we will follow the negotiations very closely, and our trade associations will naturally try to ensure that the industry’s viewpoints are heard and paid attention to by the negotiators.

We keep preparing

The new situation will not change our need to continue preparing for Brexit.

The UK Parliament is set to decide that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, regardless of whether there is a trade agreement at that time, although some commentators see this as ‘sabre rattling’ by Boris Johnson and not necessarily seriously meant. This means that the risk of a no-deal Brexit situation has moved to the end of the year, and that we now have a year to finalise our preparations for handling this.

We hope and believe that there will be a new trade agreement. However, DFDS does not build on hope and belief, and we will continue the fantastic work you have done in the Brexit team and locally to get ready for Brexit. We will also continue supporting our customers with their preparations.

Thank you to everyone for taking us this far. I know I can rely on you to take DFDS even further, so we are ready to continue serving our customers and grow our UK-EU trade after 31 December when we have a new situation.

Torben Carlsen, CEO

Safety lessons for the young

DFDS and others teach children important lessons in safety in the UK.


For the last two weeks Michael Naylor from DFDS Lowestoft has been helping with the annual ‘Crucial Crew’ show for the Lowestoft Rotary Club, a local community service organisation. They provided safety lessons, not least for being around large vehicles such as a truck, to local schoolchildren aged 10 and 11.

This project is supported by Birds Eye and DFDS and included eight safety demonstrations from the Police, Fire Service, St John Ambulance, Network Rail, Inspire, Suffolk County Council Road Safety Team and The Lifeguard Association.

Michael uses a full-size tractor and trailer to demonstrate where the blind spots are for a driver. He also uses a smaller model to show why articulated vehicles need more space on the road to carry out different manoeuvres.

Brian Hunter from the local Rotary club says: “It is with gratitude that we all at Crucial Crew would wish to thank DFDS for allowing Mr Michael Naylor to present a truck safety scenario. Michael portrays the dangers of being near such a vehicle to around 1,200 year-six children from 32 schools across the Waveney District. Without such support from emergency services, organisations and yourselves there would be no Crucial Crew and no safety advice or training for very young people.

Michael added: “I have enjoyed working with the Rotary club at this event for the past eight years and this year is no different. With the demonstration given I hope, as well as keeping children safer, it makes my and other heavy goods vehicle drivers’ jobs easier as more children and teachers understand how these vehicles operate.”

DFDS UK apprentices learn firefighting

An essential skill for every sea-faring DFDS apprentice – firefighting.

The first duty of any able seaman is to ensure the safety of their passengers – and the latest DFDS apprentices have learned exactly how to do that in the event of a fire on board a ship at sea.

The nine apprentices who began the DFDS apprenticeships programme on October 7 2019 started with courses in the classroom at North Kent College.

If they expected they would be spending all their time in class, they found the reality much hotter than they expected. The fire-fighting part of the course is essential and each must pass before being allowed to continue the programme.

This is the sixth programme of apprenticeships run by DFDS which was the first maritime company to do so. Hopefully delivering the ships captains and chief engineers of the future.

Vice President of Human Resources and Crewing, Gemma Griffin, began the DFDS apprenticeship programme in 2012 after a staff survey revealed a need for new recruits. She says: “We wanted to reach out particularly to people in the Dover area to say there are great careers and opportunities for you, and we would get new recruits into DFDS as a result.”

On the 2019 programme, there are 5 deck and 4 engine apprentices. The deck scheme enables trainees to become fully qualified Able Bodied Seafarers. The engine scheme enables workshop skills with the ultimate goal to become a Fitter.

Emma Leam-Saville on list of rising stars

Emma Leam-Saville, Agency Director

It is common knowledge at DFDS that Emma Leam-Saville is a star, and now it is general public knowledge too. Emma, who recently married and added Saville to her name, has done a terrific job on behalf of not only DFDS but the entire transport industry. Now, she has been recognised as one of the 20 brightest shining stars in the wider industry.

The recognition doesn’t come from just anyone, but from the very influential transport association, the FTA, which published a supplement on the industry’s rising stars on 27 November.

David Wells, CEO of the FTA, says: “The UK logistics industry is facing an era of unprecedented change, with pressures such as Brexit… In this turbulent environment, it is important we recognise the individuals who have made a positive contribution to the sector and who, in the view of FTA, are poised to drive the sector to new heights in 2020. By recognising and rewarding individual contributions in this way, we can challenge others to raise their game and help improve professional standards across the wider industry.”

Andrew Byrne, the Ferry Division’s MD in Immingham, says: “The recognition by the FTA of Emma’s influence this year is a great reflection of all the hard work that Emma has put in to get herself and DFDS in a more prominent industry position. DFDS now has a real voice in shaping decision and influencing transport policy in the UK, and combined with her role as Chair of the new Chamber of Shipping Customs Working Group, Emma is continuing to drive the boundaries of her individual influence and DFDS’ position in the UK transport sector. Well done Emma!”

The editors couldn’t agree more. We congratulate Emma, praise her for being great to work with and enjoy the shine she casts on us.

See the article here

See the full list below. There is strong female representation within the 20 for 20 list: 40% of candidates are women.

· Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover
· Rachel Bullen, Fleet Operations Manager, Cadent Gas and Chair of the FTA’s Van Policy Group
· Mark Cracknell, Head of Technology, Zenzic
· Leon Daniels OBE, Chair of ITT Hub 2020
· Geraint Davies, Chief Operating Officer, John Raymond Transport Ltd and Chair of Road Council
· Pamela Dennison, WS Dennison and Chair of Northern Ireland Freight Council
· Florence Eshalomi, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee
· Steve Granite, CEO, Abbey Logistics
· Professor Philip Greening, Centre for Sustainable Road Freight
· Stephen Halleran, Regional Distribution ManaMilling and Chair of Scotland Freight Council
· Lucy Hudson, Lead Officer Freight and Logistics, Transport for the North
· Allison Kemp, Managing Director, AIM Commercial Services and Vice Chair of Road Council
· Emma Leam-Saville, Agency Director, DFDS Seaways plc
· Philip Martin, Head of Freight Policy, Department for Transport
· Millie Pardoe, Business Development Associate, Pivot Power
· Leigh Pomlett, Chair of FTA Strategic Council
· Dave Rowlands, Technical Director, Wincanton and Chair of West Midlands Freight Council
· Neil Sime, Managing Director, Victa Railfreight
· Sagar Singamsetty, Senior Manager, Transportation EU Public Policy, Amazon
· Amanda Zambon, Public Affairs Manager – Logistics, DHL UK & Ireland


A cake like no other

Travelling to the Continent with DFDS is a piece of cake


One freezing cold morning in November, at 6.30am on a High Street in Newcastle, a team of people were busy constructing a cake. A cake like no other. A cake that was 7.5ft long and 5ft wide and depicted the streets and sights of Amsterdam.

The cake was designed by famous sugar-crafter Michelle Wibowo (From C4’s Extreme Cake Makers) and was commissioned to promote DFDS’s Newcastle to Amsterdam route, and the ease at which passengers can travel with us to explore the continent.

“We wanted an eye-catching design that stopped people in their tracks,” said Naomi Harper, PR Manager. “The cake had to be delivered early and put in place at a busy space on a Newcastle high street, so that the public could see it on their commute, or whilst they explored the newly opened Christmas Market.

“No-one believed that this model was cake! It was cut up and given away to passers-by at midday for free, along with a promotional offer for the route. The public commented on their positive experiences and memories of travelling on the ferry to IJmuiden, took pictures and shared on social media. The cake has received a lot of positive PR coverage, both regionally and nationally – we’re really pleased with the results of this campaign – you could say it was a piece of cake.”

Immingham and Felixstowe use best practice within health and safety

Lee Bayliss, Director of Health, Safety and Security

Many factors make up a successful company, but one of the most essential must be the health and safety of our colleagues as this can affect the whole organisation. The occupational health and safety management systems control and align procedures and policies to minimise the risk of injuries, accidents and illness in the workplace, ensuring an environment where our colleagues can feel safe.

In Immingham and Felixstowe, they have transitioned from the former management system for international standard of occupational health and safety, OHSAS18001, to the new system, ISO45001.

The Quality Standards external auditors, DNV, recently conducted a gap analysis on the transition and granted DFDS Ferry in Immingham and Felixstowe accreditation. Only a few organisations have achieved this ahead of the deadline of March 2021, when organisations must transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001.

The governing body of international quality standards, the International Organisation for Standardisation, agreed that while OHSAS18001 focussed on controlling hazards in the workplace, it did not put enough focus on identifying and controlling risks. ISO45001 does this, and ensures full control over more proactive, flexible and preventative measures against the risk of a broader range of issues before they happen.

“Stephanie Harrison, Audit & Compliance Officer for DFDS Ferry in Immingham and Felixstowe, has worked with all the departments to ensure every key element of the criteria is covered throughout the business. Our revised audit standards and protocol are now best practice and we will continue along the same path,” says Lee Bayliss, Director of Health, Safety and Security.

DNV will be back at the end of the month to conduct its first full audit with a view to another two years’ accreditation as per our schedule, building on the best practice already recognised.

Christmas trees on time

200.000 Christmas trees will over the next three weeks be loaded on DFDS trailers in Jutland and shipped via our Esbjerg-Immingham ferries to the UK.


Christmas time is a lot less elusive than a Brexit date. It doesn’t move as we get closer to it. But it still needs preparations, and those preparations – that also include the supply of Christmas trees – are gaining speed now.

The Christmas trees that you will soon be able to buy in UK streets and markets, won’t all be homegrown. Many of them grew on farms and in forests in Denmark and will over the next weeks arrive in the UK with the help of DFDS.

As you can see in the picture, we are in full swing loading trailers with Christmas trees in cooperation with our Danish haulage partners. The trailers will be taken to the UK on board our ferries on the Esbjerg-Immingham route and further on to the Christmas markets by UK haulers.

“Over the next three weeks we expect to send 200 trailers loaded with Christmas trees to the UK. This adds up to about 200.000 trees. This is a good, however quite seasonal, business for us. And it certainly feels nice to be able to help ensure that 200.000 British homes can enjoy a traditional Christmas with a Christmas tree to make it perfect,” says Selina Lindquist, Director of Logistics Denmark.

The Danish logistics team – ready to ensure the supply of Christmas trees for UK Families – and a lot of other goods needed by UK consumers at Christmas and between Christmases.

UK graduates on teambuilding exercise

Fighting through an upstream river and walking up a cliff in the pouring rain. These are things that aren’t usually part of a working day at DFDS. However, as part of our UK graduate scheme, the first and second cohorts of graduates shared a few days of teambuilding and bonding in Eskdale in the Lake District.

The group was taken through the countryside to take part in an outward bound course where they hiked up mountains, abseiled down steep drops and had to make their way through fast-flowing rivers.

The feedback from our graduates about the day was extremely positive. Aris Stefanou says: “The programme was not just limited to outdoor activities. Numerous tasks and exercises were included that required us to work as a team to overcome challenges and find creative solutions to problems. It is important to note that the various tasks that we did were specifically tailored to teach us the DFDS Way and after completion of the tasks we reflected on our performance. Personally, this was very beneficial to me as it helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses, and how I could become a better individual as well as professional.”

All in all, the graduates had a fun-filled, informative and adventurous few days with each other. We wish you the best of luck in your futures with DFDS.

Halloween on the English Channel

There were spooky scary skeletons and other creatures as our colleagues celebrated Halloween.

Yesterday, on 31 October, adults and children dressed up in scary masks and costumes to create a fun and spooky atmosphere to celebrate Halloween. Our colleagues on the English Channel routes could not let this day go by without their own celebration in Calais, Dover and Dunkirk and onboard our ferries Delft, Dunkerque and Calais.

Our port offices and ferries were wonderfully decorated with ghoulish decorations. The teams went trick or treating with our tourist and freight customers in the assembly lanes at the port, spooky treats were offered to our customers and lots of fun was created in the passenger accommodation onboard the vessel. Calais Seaways was also filled with spooky looking customers in the Sea Shop that had been face painted on board the ferry.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Short Routes & Passenger, says “Our crew and operational teams really stepped up a gear with their fabulous, scary and fun costumes. They were present at all the customer touchpoints which created a lot of laughter from our guests. The response we received from our customers has been absolutely overwhelming to the Halloween activities”.

“A big thank you and well done too all our teams onboard and ashore for creating this amazing Halloween engagement with our customers, along with a special thanks to Monika Copley, Office Manager & Laura Charlton, Customer Experience Specialist for organising this super event.”

Recruitment drive at Truckfest

A team from HR was on the look-out for drivers and business partners at Truckfest in the UK.


Logistics needs great drivers. They are simply essential for our operations, the services we offer and our success. And drivers are not so easy to find anymore in many locations, so it takes a real effort to find the best drivers for DFDS.

For this purpose, the HR recruitment team from Logistics UK went to Truckfest 2019 at the Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire, in early October. Truckfest is Europe’s largest truck festival and attracts thousands of drivers, hauliers, businesses and spectators.

Janet Lainchbury, Recruitment Coordinator, says: “We were there for the first time, so we are very pleased that it went well. Speaking to drivers, prospective drivers, hauliers and businesses to let them know who DFDS is, and what we have to offer: we think it’s important to be visible and attractive to each group.

“The recruitment drive was focused on attracting new drivers to fill the shortages we have across our UK sites. We are now planning bigger and better for Truckfest 2020 in Peterborough. A big thank you to all who gave up part of their weekend to set up and help on the stand in what was not the best weather.”

A good-looking stand to draw in people – with shelter from the rain

Calais Seaways saves Columbo

No day in PR is predictable and that especially goes for Fridays where anything can happen. For Naomi Harper, PR Manager, Friday the 11th was absolutely no exception. Listen to Naomi’s take on a memorable day.

I settled down for a quiet day of planning when the phone rang, as it so often does. Sometimes it is just a customer who has dialled the wrong number and is looking to get through to make a booking. On this occasion though, the gentleman called Adam on the end of the line sounded panicked and said it was an emergency. So there was no doubt in my mind that I had to help.

Adam explained that he and his wife, Yaneth, and their Boxer dog, Columbo, were on their way home from Calais. There had been an issue with Columbo’s pet passport and Eurotunnel wouldn’t accept it. Adam had to immediately return to the UK due to work commitments and to return a vehicle, so he had to leave his wife and dog in Calais.

His question to us was, after having Columbo’s pet passport re-stamped and waiting the required 24 hours, could they sail back with us the next day as foot passengers. They sadly could not as our Eastern Channel route doesn’t take foot passengers. I was, however, determined to find another way.

After checking with the team, we arranged a DFDS van to collect Yaneth and Columbo in Calais the next day and pop them onto Calais Seaways for a smooth crossing back to Dover. Yaneth enjoyed a glass of prosecco in the Premium Lounge and treated Columbo to a toy from the on-board shop.

Adam then met them at the Port of Dover for a safe onward journey. Additionally, Adam mentioned afterwards that he’s a business studies lecturer at a university and would be using DFDS as a case study to show his students how a business should treat its ‘potential’ customers and win them as actual customers.

It was brilliant team work, pulling this together at the last minute to bring these passengers back to the UK, so thank you to Cyril Bourgois in Calais, Therese Boullot on Calais Seaways, Guy Ellis in Dover, Jesper Christensen and Gemma Griffin.

Ministerial visit to Larkhall

The Larkhall team and UK Minister, Mr George Eustice during a tour of our chill warehouse facility in Scotland.


On Thursday 10 October our Larkhall site welcomed Mr George Eustice, UK Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs together with a delegation of officials.

The Ministers’ visit was to see at first hand the seafood industry’s preparedness for Brexit. He was very impressed with our facilities in Scotland and the work we have done with DEFRA and local authorities in preparation for Brexit.

Eddie Green, Steve Macaulay, Mick Devine and David Cranston hosted the meeting, presenting the DFDS setup in Scotland and our preparations on Brexit.
We voiced our concerns on two key areas, namely speed of local government to get officials in place to complete Health Certificates and the need to provide filtering of freight on motorways leading to the Channel.

The Minister was very impressed with our facilities in Scotland and the work we have done with DEFRA and local authorities in readiness for Brexit.