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In 1866, Carl Frederik Tietgen's initiative to merge four Danish steamship companies into one: DFDS (Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab), had a strong purpose: to allow the trade that was growing exponentially in the wake of industrialization to create growth for all. Products and coal from the United Kingdom were transported to Scandinavian markets that had textile and energy needs. Accordingly, in these countries, steamships gave farmers access to the rapidly growing UK market, supplying it with food and raw materials.
Around 1900, DFDS steamships connected Black Sea farmers to the new Russian industrial area around St. Petersburg. DFDS also launched routes to the USA bringing feed to European farmers, supporting this way, their transformation from livestock exporters to producers and exporters of processed products. DFDS also connected Danish and Scandinavian cities to each other and to the world. All this, was achieved with a fleet of more than 120 ships, which was among the largest in the world at that time.
DFDS even carried immigrants seeking a better future in the US. During the two world wars, DFDS secured essential supplies of food and coal to Europeans who would otherwise be starving and unable to heat their homes. The jobs and the industry were kept alive.
During post-war, DFDS' ships, many of them now equipped with diesel engines, continued to sail, carrying goods, products and people across the seas that separate the US from Europe, the UK from continental Europe, the Mediterranean and Scandinavian countries. In the late 1960s, DFDS was the first to develop a Ro-Ro service, paving the way for the efficient transport of trucks and trailers carrying industrial cargo.
In 1972, the logistics sector developed, connecting people and businesses, and in 1998, Dan Transport was acquired, making DFDS one of the largest transport and logistics companies in Northern Europe. DFDS Dan Transport was sold in 2000 to concentrate the company's resources on shipping. In 2010, Norfolkline and several logistics companies were acquired, making DFDS a European shipping group once again, providing vital infrastructure services in Europe. Nowdays, DFDS has charted a steady course towards the development of digital capabilities in order to fulfill its original purpose: “We move for all to Grow”! Also, we shouldn’t neglect mentioning, that it is nominated in the category: Best Ferry Operator for routes to and from British ports of the British Travel Awards (2021 – 2022).
DFDS is divided into two commercial activities: the first is ships that carry passengers and cargo in Europe and the second deals with transport and logistics services. Its vessels operate in the North Sea, Baltic, English Channel and Mediterranean. In 2020, 1.5million passengers had been transported during the following routes:
• Rosslare – Dunkirk
• Dunkirk – Dover
• Calais – Dover
• Amsterdam – Newcastle
• Dieppe – Newhaven
• Copenhagen – Oslo
• Frederikshavn – Oslo
• Karlshamn – Klaipeda
• Kapellskar – Paldiski
• Kiel – Klaipeda
While some of its ships are: Dover Seaways, Delft Seaways, Dunkerque Seaways, Côte Des Dunes, Côte Des Flandres, Côte d'Opale, King Seaways, Princess Seaways, Côte d'Albâtre, Seven Sisters, Pearl Seaways, Crown Seaways, Athena Seaways, Aura Seaways, Sirena Seaways.
It is also worth mentioning that DFDS recognizes that its activities have a significant environmental footprint. Wanting this to change, the Company is working to reduce it through incremental changes in day-to-day operations, as well as long-term initiatives that reduce emissions, both locally and at group level. Finally, DFDS wants to be a safe place to work for everyone. At the Company they care about the physical and mental health of their staff and want every employee to contribute their unique views, no matter who they are or where they come from: everyone should have the same opportunities.