Towards a more circular DFDS

A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops where raw materials, components, and products lose as little value as possible. DFDS’ Circular Lead Ulrika Kron explains how she sees circularity as a tool for DFDS to transition into a more sustainable business.


“The best way of explaining circularity is maybe to look at its opposite: The opposite of circular is linear. That’s how modern society has gone about production for the past few hundred years: we take, we make, and we discard. In a world with finite resources, it goes without saying that a linear approach just doesn’t work in the long run. At some point, a linear approach will cause us all to run out of resources or create so much toxic or dangerous waste that we risk severe damage to our environment and quality of life,” Circular Lead Ulrika Kron says.

Ulrika Kron

Circularity is the tool and sustainability is the goal

Ulrika joined DFDS in early 2021, taking up a newly established position as Circular Lead in our Logistics Division.

“Circularity can be a simple concept. It means that a product is created with its own end-of life taken into account. In a circular economy, once the user is finished with the product, it goes back into the supply chain instead of being dumped in a landfill or incinerated,” Ulrika says and continues:

“The logistics sector plays a crucial role in the circular economy. Production and user processes must be linked to create a system without waste. The circular economy offers many opportunities for logistics companies to change their role and business model, and to innovate together with customers and partners.”

We already do it

“Circularity is not new to DFDS. Making better use of resources is a way of thinking that we have applied for a long time. I have a background in Logistics myself, and I believe that I speak for many of us when I say that it is very close to a Logistics person’s heart to work with resource efficiency because it’s an integral part of how we work. Sometimes we even do it without thinking about it or giving it a name – like when we naturally fill trailers to minimise the need for extra transports, and we also secure an assignment for the return transport,” Ulrika says.

Fact box

Our central equipment warehouse in Immingham is an example of circular thinking in DFDS.

Many smaller ferry and logistics companies buy equipment for a specific corridor. If they start operating another one, they need to purchase specific equipment for that route, too. That can be both pricy and complicated. Our equipment centre houses 11,000 cargo carrier and security equipment. It helps us maintain a more universally usable fleet. We can reuse assets from the warehouse where and when it makes sense to share the total cost of ownership and ensure that the equipment is more actively utilised.

Read more here on how to optimize the cargo moving operations.

“In the end, circularity is a tool to achieve sustainability. It’s a very concrete way of thinking that matches the nature of our business. A circular approach is something we all can take to a certain degree. We can’t all develop green fuels or new green vessels, but we can look at how the resources we use are disposed of and perhaps come up with new ways of extending their life.”

More examples of DFDS taking a circular approach:

Reusable packaging flow in Gothenburg

We partner with Volvo Group to sort, repair, wash, pack and unpack their wooden crates, prolonging their lives and reducing the need for more plastic crates.

Taking used cardboard boxes back for Sainsbury’s DFDS takes back used cardboard boxes for grocery giant Sainsbury’s to get them recycled.

DFDS takes back used cardboxes

Trucks in Scotland get a new life in Shetland

When trucks can no longer be used in Scotland due to the country’s demanding conditions, they are sent to Shetland, where they are repaired and can be used for several more years.

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