September 6, 2019

Short Interview With Torben Carlsen CEO And Peder Gellert EVP, DFDS Group

 FSN met the DFDS top executives in DFDS House, Copenhagen, talking about present and future.

With many DFDS activities on the UK -Continent trade, Brexit was a natural topic. Torben Carlsen says that DFDS has worked with both the UK and the continental customs, as well as with freight customers, to find smooth digital solutions.

All customs have been very cooperative and especially the UK is aware about the challenge and is as prepared as possible.

DFDS pointed out that it is of course also the Belgian, Dutch, Swedish and French side that will be affected and prepares itself.

In general, DFDS believes that there might be a period of 3-6 months with some problems, but the very big and important UK/EU trade eventually will find its forms.

DFDS is also prepared to restart the tax-free business, even if the profitability is not what it used to be.

In DFDS, approximately 80 % of the business is freight related when including the DFDS Logistic, and 20% is passenger related. However, the passenger revenue is bigger than at any time before in the long DFDS history.

On the tonnage side, the confirmed 4+2 big 6,500 lane metre China-built ro-ro ferries are partly delivered, under way or in preparation. The first two delivered are sailing in the Mediterranean and the next two will be in North Sea operation. Number 3, HOLLANDIA SEAWAYS is expected in November, December.

For the cruise ferry routes Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen-Oslo, DFDS is working on tonnage alternatives.

All together DFDS is operating 55 ships, in the Baltic, North Sea and the Med.

Peder Gellert informs that the big organisation is very customer- and market-driven. All back offices are common, but sales/marketing are as close as possible to the market. DFDS is focused on digital transformation, especially on the marketing side. These activities are mainly common for the group.

In the environmental area, DFDS is doing its best to improve and develop. An investment in biofuel producer Mash Energy is one example of the new CRS ambition. There are preparations to test one of the ships engines with the biofuel.

For the next 5 years the focus will be:

  • Growth solutions to selected industries like, forest/metal, automotive and cold chain transport.
  • Digitalise services to accelerate growth.
  • Develop and expand the ferry and logistic network.
  • Create more value for passengers.