Freight up 12% driven by growth in all Business Units

Every month, we publish the previous month’s ferry volumes to the stock exchange to provide additional insight into volume trends in DFDS’ European route network.

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DFDS ferry volumes

Ferry – freight: Total volumes in March 2021 were 11.8% above 2020. Net adjustments for structural route changes reduced growth 0.2 ppt to 11.6%. Volumes for routes calling the UK were up 10%.

The positive market momentum in February continued in March for the North Sea and Mediterranean volumes. Volumes on the English Channel were also above 2020. Volumes on the new route between Ireland and France continued above expectations. Baltic Sea volumes were above 2020 adjusted for the closure of the Paldiski-Hanko route.

The volume growth in March 2021 was boosted by Covid-19’s negative impact on volumes in the last two weeks of March 2020. This effect was largest in the Mediterranean, North Sea and Channel business units.

To give an insight into the positive developments in our Mediterranean business unit, Lars Hoffmann, Head of BU Mediterranean, says: “Already at the end of 2020, we started to see higher volumes than the previous year. This is a direct result of efforts to streamline our operations and services in the Mediterranean and it is really paying off now. We saw increasing volumes in January and February and now in March, we were more than 20% above March 2020. In mid-February, we accommodated demand by increasing sailings to nine weekly departures from Pendik and Yalova to Trieste. This is actually the highest amount of DFDS departures in this Mediterranean corridor since we entered the market.

“Apart from the positive market momentum in the Mediterranean, I believe that our extensive ferry infrastructure in combination with rail solutions also contributes to the increase in volumes. Our customers are starting to see the benefits of combining ferry and rail. And it shows. Since 2020, we went from approx. 30 weekly trains from Trieste to 55-60 weekly trains in 2021 with a very high average utilization rate.”

“We have lately seen a decline in imports to Turkey, which is linked to the currently weak Turkish Lira and political turbulence that mainly impacts businesses outside Turkey. This is not ideal for the balance in our flows in Trieste as customers tend to wait for return cargos to Turkey. We are looking into various solutions to soften the impacts. However, we are used to such challenges and have the experience to navigate through them in a positive way. Trieste is a key port for us and we are looking to expand the port or inland terminal space to enable us to handle the future volume growth.“

Ferry – passenger: The total number of passengers in March 2021 was 77% below 2020. The decrease reflects a continued negative impact from travel restrictions related to Covid-19 on the two cruise ferry routes, of which Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen continued to be suspended in March, and the Channel. In the Baltic Sea, passenger numbers were slightly below 2020.

The April volume report is expected to be published on 11 May 2021.

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