The 1999 acquisition of Dan Transport was one of the largest acquisitions in the history of DFDS. The acquisition concerned Dan Transport Holding A/S, including the Dan Transport Travel Bureau and Canal Tours Copenhagen. However, 17 months later the whole transport division, named DFDS Dan Transport Group A/S, was sold to transport group DSV, and the focus was once again on the former core business activities: ro-ro liner traffic and passenger shipping on overnight routes.
In June 2001 the deal to acquire a 76.36% share in the Lithuanian shipping company LISCO was finalized.
Lys-Line Rederi AS and Lys-Line AS were taken over 100% by DFDS in 2005.
In August 2005 DFDS purchased 66% of the trailer forwarding company Halléns NV in Belgium.
In 2006 DFDS acquired the container shipping company Norfolk Line Containers BV.
With a new strategy from 2007, the focus was on raising the profitability of the existing activities in order to prepare for new acquisitions. In 2010, the strategic goal was reached when DFDS made the largest and most important acquisition in the history of DFDS in acquiring Norfolkline from AP Møller-Maersk. Norfolkline operated shipping routes on the English Channel, the North Sea and the Irish Sea, and also had substantial logistics activities.
Furthermore, in 2010 DFDS sold DFDS Canal Tours, since it was not regarded as a core activity and produced no synergies with the DFDS Group’s other activities.
Routes and terminals
The Cuxhaven-Harwich passenger route was opened in March 2002. It was closed in November 2005 due to increasing economic pressure from low-cost airlines and the cessation of duty-free on-board sales between EU countries in 1999.
On 2 October 2002 a new passenger route between Copenhagen/Trelleborg and Gdansk in Poland was opened. DANA ANGLIA, which was renamed DUKE OF SCANDINAVIA, was put into service on the route. However, approximately one year later the route was discontinued.
In September 2004 a new terminal, the DFDS Terminal, opened at Dampfærgevej 30, Copenhagen, and the DFDS Seaways Oslo service moved to the new premises after being based at nearby Kvæsthusbroen since 1974.
In September 2006 DFDS took over the route between Bergen/Haugesund/Stavanger-Newcastle from the Norwegian shipping company Fjord Line, and the DFDS route between Göteborg/Kristiansand-Newcastle was closed on 1 November 2006. The acquired route was not profitable, however, and was closed in 2008.
In July 2006 DFDS Nordic Terminal in Immingham was opened. It covers a total area of 720,000 sq m, and has six ro-ro berths. The extension cost more than GBP 40 million and was carried out in co-operation with Associated British Ports (ABP). More than 600 people are employed at the terminal.
In 2008, the passenger service between western Norway and Newcastle was closed due to lack of profitability.
In 2009, the ro-pax route between Lübeck and Riga was sold to Baltic ferry company Scandlines, and in 2010, after the takeover of Norfolkline, the route Zeebrügge-Rosyth (Scotland) was changed to a freight-only service.
Later, in 2010/2011, the unprofitable routes on the Irish Sea were sold to Sweden-based ferry company Stena (Belfast-UK) or closed (Dublin-UK).
In 2001 DFDS acquired the passenger vessel PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA, sailing the Copenhagen/Helsingborg-Oslo route.
From 2003-2006 DFDS Tor Line took delivery of six large ro-ro vessels built by Flensburger Schiffbaugesellschaft GmbH. They were named: TOR MAGNOLIA, TOR PRIMULA, TOR BEGONIA, TOR PETUNIA, TOR FREESIA and TOR FICARIA.
A new concept, ro-pax vessels, was launched in 2002 on the Esbjerg-Harwich route when DANA GLORIA entered service on the route.
In June 2003 the second ro-pax vessel, DANA SIRENA, was deployed on the Esbjerg-Harwich route, and DANA GLORIA was acquired by the Lithuanian subsidiary, AB LISCO.
In 2004-2006 two ro-pax ships were bought and deployed on routes in the Baltic Sea. The passenger ship, PRINCESS OF NORWAY, was bought.
In November 2005 DFDS purchased the passenger vessel KING OF SCANDINAVIA, deployed on the Amsterdam-Newcastle route.
During the period 2001-2007 the Group sold 27 vessels, including five passenger vessels, as part of the fleet strategy set out in 2001 to reduce the average age of the fleet.
From 2008 to 2010 four ro-ro newbuildings from a yard in China were chartered by DFDS and put into service on routes in the Baltic Sea (TOR CORONA) and the North Sea (TOR FIONIA, TOR JUTLANDIA and TOR HAFNIA)
In 2009 DFDS took delivery of a newbuilding from Italy, LISCO BALTICA, which entered service on Kiel-Klaipeda.
In 2009 TOR FICARIA, TOR FREESIA and TOR BEGONIA were extended by 30 metres, and TOR FICARIA was equipped with a “scrubber” which can remove sulphur and other particles from the exhaust gases.
In 2010 the acquisition meant that many ships were taken over and sold or moved to other routes. One was the passenger ship QUEEN OF SCANDINAVIA which was used as a hotel ship. In 2009 it was chartered out to a service between Russia and Finland, but with DFDS crew.
After the sale of DFDS Dan Transport Group A/S Thorleif Blok, President and CEO, resigned at the end of September 2000. He was succeeded by Ole Frie as new President and CEO of the DFDS group.
In connection with the takeover of Dan Transport Holding A/S in 1999 the share capital of DFDS A/S was increased by DKK 300 million to DKK 800 million.
At the annual general meeting on 11 April 2002 Jan Erlund resigned after 17 years as Chairman of the Board of DFDS. Ivar Samrén took over as new Chairman.
At the end of 2006 Ole Frie retired as CEO after 46 years in DFDS, and Niels Smedegaard was appointed new CEO.
In 2008 Niels Smedegaard introduced a new structure and appointed a new executive board. In 2009 Bent Østergaard became Chairman of the Board of Directors, and in 2010, when the takeover of Norfolkline was completed, Niels Smedegaard introduced the present structure: a shipping division and a logistics division for the commercial activities, and a finance division. A ‘People & Ships’ division was responsible for HR and operation and management of the ships. At the same time, a new executive committee was introduced, with Niels Smedegaard as CEO and President, Torben Carlsen as CFO, Peder Gellert Pedersen as Executive Vice President with responsibility for the Shipping division, and Eddie Green as Executive Vice President with responsibility for the Logistics division. Henrik Holck, Executive Vice President, took responsibility for the People & Ships division.
In September 2003 the DFDS headquarters was moved from Sankt Annæ Plads, Copenhagen, where it had been since 1871.
On 11 December 2006 DFDS celebrated its 140th anniversary.
In 2010 DFDS introduced a new branding strategy with new colours on the ships and trailers, the new brand names DFDS Seaways and DFDS Logistics to replace all former names. There was also a new graphic appearance for the company, still based on the Maltese cross, which has been a part of the company logo since 1866. This logo was further refined and updated in 2015.