DFDS Seaways has been in operation for almost 150 years but in 2015 the company celebrates 15 years of operation out of Dover. The Dover-Dunkerque route opened on 20th March 2000 using the brand new Ro-Pax vessel Northern Merchant (above). In October 2000 the Midnight Merchant joined the route followed at a later date by the Dawn Merchant. Progressing rapidly from nothing to three vessels in just 18 months was an achievement, especially considering the manual booking systems and hand-written boarding cards that were used at the time. In 2005 and 2006, the first generation ships were replaced with three purpose- built 35,923gt Ro-Pax ships, which continue to operate on the route today. Known as the ‘D Types’ they are the sister ships Dunkerque/Dover/Delft Seaways.
After 15 years of service, DFDS now transports some 920,000 trucks, 840,000 cars and close to 4 million passengers per year on the Channel routes. The Dover-Calais service was opened in conjunction with LD Lines on 7th February 2012 and was taken over entirely by DFDS Seaways the following year. The 28,833gt/1992 built Calais Seaways (former Norman Spirit) operated this service alongside the 20,133gt/1992 built Deal Seaways (Barfleur), then the 30,551gt/2002 built Dieppe Seaways (now Stena Superfast X) and was joined by the Malo Seaways in April 2015.
This year also marks 20 years since DFDS took over the Newcastle-Ijmuiden operation. The Princess Seaways operated a 7 night cruise from Newcastle to Kollafjordur near Torshavn in the Faroes on 15th March to view the solar eclipse.
Elsewhere in the DFDS fleet the sale of the 13,073gt/2000 built Flandria Seaways to Mexican interests was agreed on 27th March. The 1,692 lane metre capacity ship was sold for DKK 90m. The profit on the sale of the ship is expected to be approximately DKK 14m.