DFDS orders a new freight ferry as Turkish shipping buy-out completes

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 13 Jun 2018

​DFDS has ordered an additional freight ferry for delivery in the first half of 2020 from the Chinese Jinling Shipyard.

The huge shipping giant, with its UK headquarters in Immingham, has recently completed the acquisition of Turkish operator UN Ro-Ro, significantly enhancing its route network, and now it is enhancing its investment in new vessels. 

“This freight new building increases our order book to five large freight ferries, which will increase our efficiency and enable us to accommodate projected growth in our route network in northern Europe and the Mediterranean, support trade and help our customers grow their business,” Niels Smedegaard, chief executive, said. 

The new vessel is similar to the four previously ordered roll-on roll-off freight ferries and likewise designed to carry 6,700 lane metres of freight equivalent to around 450 trailers. 

The large capacity decreases unit costs as well as the environmental impact per transported unit, the company said.

DFDS’ fleet renewal programme also includes two combined freight and passenger ferries (ro-pax) to be delivered in 2021 for deployment in the Baltic route network. In addition, one chartered combined freight and passenger ferry (ro-pax) will be delivered in 2021 for deployment on the English Channel routes.

Read more: DFDS raises £118 million in new share issue to fund Turkish transaction

The company said its investment outlook for 2018 is unchanged, with the deal for the Turkish business also completing last week.

Mr Smedegaard said: “All relevant authorities have now approved the transaction and I am very pleased to announce that on June 7 we completed the deal. U.N. Ro-Ro and its strong Mediterranean shipping network are now part of DFDS.

“Trade between the EU and Turkey has been booming for a long time and the future prospects are very encouraging for seaborne transportation, which bypasses border controls and road congestion in several countries. Together, we will be able to offer our customers a unique service. UN Ro-Ro is strong in the Turkish and Mediterranean markets, whereas DFDS has a very efficient network in northern Europe. With efficient road and intermodal networks to combine the two areas, we will be able to support exporters and transporters to an even greater scale than before. This will be for the benefit of growing trade and employment in Turkey as well as in the EU.

“With the 12 ships from UN Ro-Ro and the 50 ships from DFDS, including orders for new, very large ro-ro vessels, we have a unique flexibility in our fleet to offer competitive transportation of ever-growing volumes of export cargo on the Mediterranean Sea as well as in Europe’s northern region.

“We are now ready to start the integration of UN Ro-Ro into DFDS in close co-operation with our new colleagues. The joint planning process has confirmed our excitement and belief in joining our networks to provide new opportunities for, not least, customers and employees.”

Read more: Business Secretary: 'I'll personally negotiate Grimsby's £36m regeneration deal'

UN Ro-Ro operates five freight ferry routes connecting Turkey with Trieste in Italy and Toulon in France with 12 freight ferries and its own port terminals in Istanbul and Trieste. In Europe, the company also offers inter-modal solutions to and from other European markets. The company has an annual revenue of EUR 240 million and 500 employees.

Selçuk Boztepe, chief executive of UN Ro-Ro and now head of a new Mediterranean business unit in DFDS’ shipping division, said: “Soon, we will add the Greek port of Patras to our network between Italy and Turkey. Our aim is to be a key player in the sea transport sector in the North Africa, Black Sea and Middle East regions.”

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