“At DFDS Seaways, we have been working on Brexit-related solutions since the day after the referendum,” says Jean-Claude Charlo, Managing Director of the French subsidiary. “Brexit will undoubtedly increase the burden of customs administration; we have managed to negotiate an agreement with the authorities to enable trucks to be evaluated and categorized in terms of those
DFDS in France offers two service categories. For private cars and passengers, the company provides crossings from Calais and Dunkirk to Dover, and Dieppe to Newcastle. “We transport 1.1 million private cars a year, and we also offer package holidays and mini cruises,” notes Mr. Charlo.
The company's second service area is heavy goods vehicles, which operates the same routes as for passengers as well as a route from Marseille to Tunisia. DFDS has a Vessel sharing agreement with CMA CGM.
“HGVs can be driver accompanied or driver free, where the vehicle is loaded on one side of the channel by one driver and collected on the other side by a second driver. This avoids paid drivers being inactive for hours at a time, and companies can use a cheaper, local workforce,” explains the Managing Director. DFDS Seaways in France carries 1.2 million HGVs annually.
In total, DFDS covers 22 routes, nine of which are exclusively for passengers; nevertheless, the bulk of its business is generated in the freight sector. The group also operates a door-to-door logistics service, which in France is carried out by a separate subsidiary.
A multi-channel sales strategy ensures that private passengers can choose the most convenient booking method – online via the company's own travel portal, by telephone, or via travel agents. Contracts are generally in place for regular freight customers, although DFDS offers attractive prices for one-off bookings too.
At DFDS Seaways, we have been working on Brexit-related solutions since the day after the referendum. Jean-Claude CharloManaging Director
“Our customers are always central to everything we do,” underlines Mr. Charlo. “We offer solutions designed to meet their needs, our service quality is second to none, and we have a very strong network.” For the past eight years, customers have voted DFDS the World’s Leading Ferry Operator. This year, the company’s unbroken rule continued after it was awarded the 2019 prize for the ninth year in a row at a gala ceremony for the World Travel Awards held in Oman at the end of November.
Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, DFDS Seaways is active in 20 countries and, with 40 vessels and over 8,300 staff, generates an annual turnover of over two billion EUR. The French concern is headquartered in Dieppe, with offices in Dunkirk and Calais.
As with many sectors, the uncertainty over Brexit and, in particular, its continual postponement, has left its mark on revenues. “Private individuals are concerned about future costs and the travel budget is the first area where they economize; we have seen a very significant reduction in bookings,” says Mr. Charlo. “In the freight sector, we have seen a huge increase in goods being transported to boost stocks shortly before each scheduled Brexit date, followed by a dramatic decrease in traffic.”
Environmental concerns are also heavily impacting the ferry sector, and here too, DFDS is very active. “We have equipped our vessels with filters to reduce the damaging emissions, and the whole branch is working on new LNG-powered solutions,” reveals the Managing Director.
DFDS Seaways invests heavily in customer-oriented developments. “The North Sea is well serviced and we are not planning any new routes,” sums up Mr. Charlo. “In contrast, there is huge potential in the Mediterranean region; Europe has once again become a center of production and, as a result, urgently needs new transport lines, for example with Turkey. This will be an area of considerable focus for us for the foreseeable future.”