DFDS Jubilee Fund supports colleagues in need

In 1916, DFDS celebrated its 50th anniversary by establishing the DFDS Jubilee Fund that financially supports employees of DFDS, former employees or the next of kin of deceased employees.

The support may also be granted to internal associations that support colleagues in need, or other associations with a relevance to DFDS.

Maximum support is DKK 50,000, and everyone in our network with a relationship to DFDS, as outlined above, may apply for support.

Online application
The applications will be considered twice a year by a board consisting of members of the Executive Management team.

As something new, the application form and all relevant information, including criteria for applying, deadlines and more can be found on under ‘About DFDS’ – or via this link: DFDS Jubilee Fund page

If you have any questions for the DFDS Jubilee Fund or making an application please contact

DFDS and WeShelter celebrates 10-year anniversary

WeShelter is an organization that has been doing social work in Copenhagen since 1893. The organization runs numerous shelters in and around the city which provide vulnerable men and women living on the street with food, a safe place to sleep, psychological and medical consultations, and whenever possible, help them in the process of moving into their own housing.

This year, we welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and the gospel choir, Voice Zone, who have volunteered for us for the last couple of years. Lisa Larsen, General Manager at WeShelter, says that for many of WeShelter’s homeless, the DFDS Christmas lunch is a highlight of the season:

“Christmas time is a time where homelessness and loneliness can feel particularly difficult. Very few of the men and women who stay at our shelters have a family, and their network is often very small, so when the rest of us get together with our families over Christmas, the feeling of being an outsider in society intensifies. With this Christmas lunch, DFDS gives homeless and vulnerable people a fantastic day to look forward to – a day where they are the center of attention. It spreads so much joy to know that there are those out there who are thinking of them, a joy that can be felt throughout the year.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “I was at the Christmas lunch last year and feeling the great atmosphere as well as seeing the well-organized event really showed what great collaborations can achieve. Throughout the year, we contribute with a mini-cruise for every donation of 200 DKK donated to WeShelter and the Christmas lunch is a culmination of that cooperation. At DFDS, we have the ambition and the resources to act for the benefit of social responsibility and do good for the society and local communities – the 10-year anniversary of the Christmas lunch is a perfect example of that.

Pictures provided by WeShelter:

DFDS supports World Mental Health Day

Everyone can spend 40 seconds per day to ask if a colleague is OK. It’s high on the agenda at DFDS.

Tragically, too many people die of suicide because they don’t ask for help or talk about depressive or suicidal feelings. And many feel stigmatised because of mental health issues.

At DFDS, Gemma Griffin, VP of HR & Crewing in BU Short routes and Passenger, has been advocating Mental Well Being initiatives for quite some time to ensure that people are not stigmatised because of mental health issues in the work place.

And today, Thursday 10 October there is support for her work. DFDS is supporting the World Health Organisations 40 seconds of action campaign #40seconds, and they are asking us to improve awareness of suicide, improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent it and reduce the stigma associated with it so people who struggle with it know that they are not alone. .

We can all contribute: The campaign asks us to commit at least 40 seconds of our day. “Someone dies as a result of suicide every 40 seconds. It takes 40 seconds to start a conversation with someone and ask them if they are ok. It takes 40 seconds to start a conversation with someone and tell them that you are not feeling ok,” says the campaign.

“For me it’s fantastic that we have one day a year dedicated to Mental Health issues. However, it is simply not enough. That is why I am so pleased and so proud that DFDS have at the core of its Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy ‘Caring Employer’ where Wellbeing for all employees is a key ambition, “ says Gemma.

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR adds: “When we talk about wellbeing in DFDS, we address the whole person – body and mind, round the clock. Some may think that it is possible to leave troubles at home when driving to work – but it’s not, and we shouldn’t try to do so. Personally, I have started several meetings by sharing personal feelings and pains because saying it out loud reduces the size of it and gives me the opportunity to focus. And it’s of great value to me, that I work with colleagues who care and where it is ok not to be ok”

Every HR contact in DFDS has been supplied with a pack of activities and resources to give you some inspiration as to how to spend your 40 seconds or more today.

BU Med initiates birthday tradition for a cleaner sea

Our colleagues in BU Med now have a good reason to look forward to their birthdays. On 4 October, they celebrated World Animal Day by starting a new initiative to improve conditions for marine life.

“Every time we celebrate a birthday, we will contribute with a donation to the Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association,” says Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director.

“Our earth and every living creature are precious and sacred to us. We therefore want to support repairing the damage that is sadly done by us, humans, even if it is just a little with this small donation.”

BU Med arranges breakfast for colleagues

Before UN Ro-Ro became part of DFDS under the name BU Med, the top management regularly organised breakfast for colleagues within UN Ro-Ro. Earlier this month, Selçuk Boztepe, Senior Vice President of BU Med, restarted this great tradition when he invited Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director, and eight colleagues from different locations and departments from BU Med, to enjoy a delicious breakfast in the Watergarden Mall in Istanbul.

“We plan to do this kind of event on a monthly basis as this is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships personally and professionally with one another, regardless of positions within the company,” says Selçuk. “In addition, it is always great to hear our colleagues’ opinions and ideas about how to improve the business within their own field.”

Demet Yetim, BU Med colleague, says: “I was very pleased to take part in the first SVP Breakfast. It was a lot of fun getting to know and spending time with my colleagues from other departments. We all had a pleasant and informative day with a lively team spirit, where Selçuk Boztepe shared BU Med’s and Group’s latest news and strategies and talked about his previous work and personal history.”

DFDS celebrates female workforce on International Women’s Day

From left: Şima Demir, Captain in BU Med, Gemma Griffin, Vice President HR & Crewing and Laura Charlton, Dover Customer Experience Team


In support of International Women’s Day, DFDS is celebrating the female members of its dedicated workforce. In an industry that historically employs more males than females, these women are proving that when it comes to a successful career in the maritime industry, gender simply doesn’t come into it.

Şima Demir, Captain in BU Med, says: “I became a Captain for DFDS in 2018. When I initially graduated in 2007, many people in the industry thought my role was unsuitable for a woman. I’m currently DFDS’ only female Captain but I simply don’t believe that gender defines how successful you will be.”

Gemma Griffin, Vice President HR & Crewing says: “Women bring a different perspective to men and I think it’s genuinely recognised that having diversity in organisations, whether that be in terms of gender or any other characteristic, brings about a better culture, performance and therefore creates a more successful business.”

In 2013, DFDS took concrete initiatives to attract more women to the business with the aim of increasing the number of female board members from 27% to 40% by 2020.

The business has been working towards this through several initiatives, including offering diversity training for managers and joining forces with a renowned college about a master’s thesis on the current state of gender diversity in the company to try to uncover the existing obstacles for female career development.

You can read the full press release here.

Kasper Moos, Vice President, Head of BU Channel, with Charis Tracey (left) and Lenka Frycova (right) from Dover Customer Experience Team

Gender diversity and inclusion initiatives flourish across DFDS Network

Last December, an inclusion and gender diversity workshop was held in Copenhagen, and over recent months, further actions have been taken, including workshops in Gothenburg and Vlaardingen.

In late January, Kasper Damgaard, Karolina Landin and Karen Baurdoux facilitated a workshop during the Swedish management conference in Gothenburg.

Morgan Olausson, Managing Director, says: “Everyone was very enthusiastic, and through brainstorming and discussions, we developed some fantastic ideas on how to make a real impact on diversity and inclusion in DFDS.
I am looking forward to contributing to the implementation of these great ideas and initiatives developed in this workshop, not only for the managers but for every colleague in the entire organisation in Sweden. “

Morgan Olausson at the gender diversity workshop, creating great ideas for a more diverse and inclusive DFDS

In Vlaardingen, in addition to the workshop, Charlotte Schnoeckel and Helen Weinstein have been running a local Dutch project for the past six months, where the focus is on diversity with different objectives, including attracting young people and making the logistics business more attractive to women.

Michael Bech, Managing Director, says: “A large number of findings and changes have already been identified and implemented during the project. We want to create a more gender-diverse workplace and, in order to do that, we need to gain a better understanding of the daily struggle, where getting women on board in general is very hard, simply due to the industry not being very attractive.”

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “It is one thing to put our desires and ambitions for gender diversity into words, but it is quite different to turn these words into actions, and that is what we at DFDS intend to do. We still have a long way to go, but I am extremely pleased to see great initiatives becoming a reality across the DFDS Network.
A major part of our CSR strategy is to see initiatives expand and be put into practice across all our offices and ships to create a more gender-diverse and inclusive DFDS, both now and in the future.”

Swedish managers gathered at the Gender diversity and inclusion workshop in Gothenburg

BU Med attracts new talent

Throughout 2018, BU Med has made great efforts to attract talented students to the maritime business.

One of many initiatives is the Starfish Project, designed for maritime faculty students. BU Med offers students the opportunity to complete a six-month internship on board one of our vessels, and after completion, the interns are evaluated by the captain.

“The best students are chosen to continue with the Starfish Project. These students are given scholarships by BU Med, and trained in line with their professions and for self-improvement. When the Starfish Project students graduate, we offer them deck or engine officer positions in BU Med. So far, four students have been granted scholarships,” says Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, HR Director.

BU Med representatives have also met with students on a number of career days to talk about the BU Med structure, its intermodal transportation services, internship opportunities and recruitment processes. The representatives were HR Director Seran Yüzbaşıoğlu, Public Affairs & Operation Support Director Murat Özçelikyürek, HR Supervisor Hanife Turan, Crewing Supervisor Kıvanç Dikmen and Crewing Superintendent Uğur Demir. They facilitated various presentations to attract some of Turkey’s most talented students.

“After the career days, the internship applications were evaluated by BU Med authorities, and a total of 70 students who successfully completed personality tests and tests in vocational competency and English proficiency were offered internships,” says Kıvanç Dikmen.

DFDS and Metal Maritime union invest in seafarers’ health and well-being

When the Oslo – Copenhagen crew followed the World Championship handball match between the Danish and Norwegian teams during their voyage from Oslo to Copenhagen last Thursday, it coincided with the launch of a major well-being project on Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways.

The project is being paid for by the Social Labour Market Fund, which was established by DFDS and the trade union Metal Maritime as part of the collective bargaining negotiations seven years ago. The project will run throughout 2019, and will later be rolled out to other Danish flagged vessels. It will offer inspiration and coaching to increase crew members’ mental and physical well-being through healthier food, better habits, exercise and joint activities, as well as ongoing health checks.

Henrik Holck – who is chairman of the Social Labour Market Fund in addition to his role as EVP of People & Ships and head of the Oslo route, is particularly happy about the holistic approach to the project.

He says: “Well-being and welfare cover many things. Seafarers are often on board ship and away from their families and homes for long periods of time and when they are with their colleagues all the time can’t just go out for a walk in the woods. Therefore, well-being on board is as much connected with mental and social well-being as it is with physical well-being.”

The project will be run in collaboration with the company Champions of 2morrow, which also helps with the DFDS Moves project, initiated by colleagues at DFDS House to inspire people to eat more healthily, move more and manage stress better.

The new on-board project will also be based on close cooperation with the employees.

New food experiences will be put together, so everyone is inspired to eat more healthily. There will be new opportunities for joint exercise, coaching on stress and food, as well as support for new, healthier habits, so that TV viewing and snacks in cabins in leisure time will have to compete with activities that are both more fun and more healthy.

There will be opportunities for mindfulness and coaching on sleep, because a good night’s sleep is crucial for well-being, energy and health. Employees will be offered health checks on an ongoing basis, so that they can monitor their progress.

“A wide range of exciting events throughout the year will ensure that the initiatives are something our colleagues on board look forward to,” says Henrik.

The Social Labour Market Fund:

“The project is a core example of what can be achieved when the employer and the trade union work together for the common good for both business and employees.”

“The background to the creation of the fund in 2012 was a desire to take on an additional social responsibility and contribute to the individual seafarers in DFDS being able to maintain their jobs and remain in the labour market, even when wear and tear, age and illness take their toll. Welfare and well-being are absolutely central. Therefore, it is obvious that the fund should support this project,” says Ole Philipsen, chairman of Metal Maritime.

DFDS propels start-up companies in Maritime Stars

In the next three years, DFDS will take part as a mentor in Maritime Stars, a project run by Maritime Center for Operations (MARCOD) and created to assist start-up companies with product development in the maritime sector. The project is funded by The Danish Industry Foundation and will have several well-established companies acting as mentors and ready to offer guidance, knowledge-sharing and sparring to 15 start-up companies. The start-ups will be chosen by a panel of experts from the mentor companies based on a pitch round.

“We have always been keen to collaborate with promising start-up companies as it combines our know-how and experience with fresh thinking and innovation from other areas. The start-up companies will have great potential to impact on the maritime sector with new unique products, solutions, services and job opportunities for experts in various domains. We are really looking forward to hearing from the start-ups in March, see their ideas and concepts and of course support them along the way,” says Mads Bentzen Billesø from DFDS Innovation and Technology.

“The project fits well into our strategy of wanting to partner up with clever people. We have already got plenty of experience in doing so, for example with the drone company, Upteko, with whom we previously made this project video.”

The 15 start-up companies will develop and mature their businesses through a nine-month programme in which they will produce concepts, business plans and strategies in cooperation with their mentors.

To learn more, see:

Robert Bately becomes DFDS’ youngest Commercial Head

The role of Commercial Head is a senior management position within our cruise ferry business and involves being a member of the route management with the overall commercial and catering responsibility. We have eight Commercial Heads on our four cruise ships, and the latest, as far as we are informed, is the youngest addition ever. Robert Bately, aged 32, joined King Seaways on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route last week.

Robert began his adventure in shipping in 2004 when he joined Norfolkline on the Eastern Channel as an assistant chef on the ferry Midnight Merchant and sailed on the Dover – Dunkerque route. From here Robert moved to Dover Seaways. In 2007 he was promoted to sous chef and moved to Delft Seaways, where he spent seven years in the role, after which he became the Head Chef on board Dunkerque Seaways. In 2016 Robert was promoted Business Leader, which was a significant change of roles.

In 2017, Robert was given the opportunity to join the DFDS Horizon programme and graduated earlier this year. He received the Customer Driven Award, which was one of the awards given to five of the 21 participants in Horizon.

We are very excited to welcome Robert to our management team on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route and I have no doubt that the crew on board will give him a warm welcome as well. In his daily work Robert will join forces with Commercial Head Jørn Vase.

Please help me in congratulating Robert on this great achievement.

Best regards

Teun Wim Leene, Route Director, Amsterdam – Newcastle

Do you know the next Horizon talent? Is it you?

The nomination process for the Horizon Programme 2019 has kicked off, and if you think you have what it takes to join, contact your manager for a discussion about it. If you are a manager and think that someone in your team is a candidate for Horizon, please contact the Vice President in your business unit to get more information on how you apply.
Please note that the deadline for applications is 15 November 2018.

If you need any assistance with regards to the nomination process, please contact Training & Development:

If you want to get inspired from last year’s assessment, you can see this video from Horizon team 2:



Best regards
The Training & Development Team

WeShelter celebrates 125th anniversary on board Crown

WeShelter works to give homeless and socially excluded people better conditions by offering room in shelters and drop-in-centres in Denmark. And for several years, DFDS has supported the organisation by hosting an annual Christmas lunch for the homeless on board Pearl.

This year WeShelter celebrates an astounding 125th anniversary, which we helped them do with a big birthday buffet on board Crown on 28 October. A total of 180 volunteers and users of WeShelter enjoyed delicious food, live music and great company.

“Once again the crew gave our guests a memorable day. We are always happy to be part of a pleasant day with our friends at WeShelter, and now we are very much looking forward to the yearly Christmas lunch for the homeless on 6 December,” says Henrik Holck, EVP of People & Ships.

WeShelter have kindly lent us pictures from their Facebook page. Feel free to visit it here.

Blog: What do you care about the most?

By Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR

As you may have seen on The Bridge, people throughout DFDS arrange events to collect money for people in need, for the sick, for hospitals, for children institutions.

You may also have read about colleagues caring so much for the environment that they volunteer for cleaning of beaches, or they take initiatives to reduce the wrong use of plastic.

DFDS is also caring about the environment- and DFDS is us. DFDS is the captain or chief engineer who is working to reduce the ship’s fuel consumption through a more efficient route and speed planning. It is our colleague turning off the heat and ventilation in a room when it isn’t needed. It is you working on the deck and collecting waste in a responsible way. And it is you in the office who turns out the light and uses an environmentally friendly cup for your coffee instead a plastic cup that is only used once.

It is all of you in a location who support the local community through sponsorships for sports or charity.

It is top management who have decided that DFDS will sponsor a Euro for the fight against breast cancer for every ten miles DFDS’ pink trailer is moving.

It is our involvement in the project that helps young people with a criminal record getting back into normal life via a job on our ferries.

It is our local Danish cooperation with a union to support people financially if they need to reduce their work burden for health reasons.

It is DFDS’ investment in more sustainable technology.

It is when Gemma Griffin through a blog tells us all about mental health and how we can all take responsibility to acknowledge mental illness in the same way as we acknowledge physical illness – and in this way make life easier for colleagues who carry this extra burden on their shoulders.

As you can see, we care a lot at DFDS. Frankly speaking, we care so much and in so many ways, that there is no-one with a full overview of all our initiatives

However, now we have for the first time in the history of DFDS established a dedicated CSR department, which I have been appointed to lead. And one of my first tasks will be to understand what we are doing locally and in general, inspire and promote initiatives.

The fuel for all this is our compassion and personal engagement. So what are you compassionate about?

For my part, I care about the handling of waste. In my house I sort my trash in 8 different fractions. I like the idea that my food waste is turned into bio-fuel and that the plastics ends up recycled and not in the nature endangering the health of animals both at sea and on land.

So, coming back to this question: what are you compassionate about? Please let us know. Write your own thoughts in a blog and send it to me or Rikke Riise.


CSR – We care

DFDS is a company that cares, and recently this was manifested in the establishment of a dedicated CSR department.

Sofie Hebeltoft was recently promoted Head of CSR, and her first task was to make a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy for DFDS, which she presented at the Management Conference.

Through dedicated CSR work we want show and tell that we are a caring and responsible company that is aware of our impact on society. DFDS is a large international company, and we impact both the environment, our employees and the local communities in which we operate and perform charitable activities.

Our aim is to contribute to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders:

  • As employees we want to work for a company that makes us proud
  • Our customers want to cooperate with a company that has a sustainable agenda
  • Investors are interested in CSR measures and targets.

“We have met with a lot of people within different areas of CSR, and they have all provided us with great input and advice. Some of it has been implemented in the strategy and some of it will be guidelines for us when we work with the implementation,” says Sofie.


Raising awareness about CSR at DFDS

“Up until now, we have mainly been compliant within the CSR area. We are ready to take it to the next level by going beyond compliance – something that also promotes the DFDS brand,” says Sofie.

Share your CSR story

The CSR team is interested to know about the CSR related initiatives and activities in DFDS. “We want to know about all the great stories on how we show that we care, and we want to share them on the Bridge,” says Sofie.

So please send your input and stories to Sofie Hebeltoft.