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DFDS and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs form joint company for Channel ferry routes and France-Tunisia 

Date published: 27 March 2012.

DFDS and shipping group Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) have today entered into an agreement to form a new company that combines DFDS’ and LD Lines' ferry routes in the Channel and one route between France and Tunisia. The new company is expected to start operations on 1 July 2012. DFDS will own 82% and LDA 18% of the new company. 

The following routes will be included in the new company:

  • Dover-Dunkirk (Currently DFDS)
  • Dover-Calais  (DFDS & LD Lines in partnership)
  • Portsmouth-Le Havre  (Currently LD Lines)
  • Newhaven-Dieppe  (Currently LD Lines)
  • Marseille-Tunis  (Currently LD Lines)

LD Lines is a French ferry company and a 100% owned subsidiary of LDA. It was established in 2003 and currently operates four routes of which one route, St. Nazaire-Gijon, will not be included in the joint venture. LD Lines will transfer four chartered ships and one owned ship to the joint venture.

DFDS operates a network of 25 ferry routes and has extensive logistics activities. In the Channel, DFDS operates three ships on the Dover-Dunkirk route and, in partnership with LD lines, two ships on the newly inaugurated Dover-Calais route. Both operations will be transferred to the new company.

Stronger services

“The new company expands DFDS’ route network in line with DFDS’ strategy of creating a European shipping and logistics network.  By combining the capabilities and operations of LD Lines and DFDS, a new and stronger company is formed that is well positioned to deliver the ferry services that are required by our customers in the very competitive market on the Channel,” says Niels Smedegaard, President & CEO  of the DFDS Group.

“This new company confirms our strategy to create a European leader in the Channel ferry business. We strongly believe that this is the right answer to the many challenges the industry has to cope with and are confident this fully integrated network will offer our clients a unique flexibility” says Gildas Maire, President of LD Lines.

Overview of operations in new joint company

Channel (Dover Strait)   Western Channel  Mediterranean Total 
Routes Dover-Dunkirk
 Portsmouth-Le Havre
 Marseille-Tunis  5
Ships 5 ro-pax (4 owned,
1 chartered)
3 ro-pax (all chartered) 1 ro-ro (chartered) 9

, ‘000

12,500 875 200 13,575
4,000 500     NA 4,500
Estimated revenue (year 1)**,
200 60 15 273
No. of employees 900 250 10 1,160

* 1 ro-pax ship, NORMAN SPIRIT, is currently chartered from LD Lines to the Dover-Calais route.
**Estimated volume/revenue for a full year of operation. New company is expected to start operations on 1 July 2012.

Flags and employment conditions will remain unchanged following the planned merger. Details about the future plans as well as the structure and management of the new company’s activities will follow later.