The development in North sea volumes is underpinned by some shortage in drivers as trips to UK are not as attractive as they used to be, because of the fall of the pound ahead of the Brexit vote. This made some freight forwarders to change from using trucks with drivers to just sending unaccompanied trailers on DFDS’ freight-only ships.

“Overall, North Sea freight volumes grew by 7% in 2017. In spite of the Brexit issue, and the delayed Brexit agreement between the UK and EU, we see that the UK’s economy is still growing, albeit at a slower pace. According to the UK government’s official prognosis, growth is expected to continue at just over 1 per cent in 2018. At the moment, we even see an increasing growth in British exports, which also contributes positively to our developments on our ten North Sea routes,” noted Niels Smedegaard, CEO & President, DFDS.

To meet with the increased volume growth that is expected to occur, DFDS ordered four mega ships, each having a capacity of 475 trailers for the North Sea traffic. The ships are set to be delivered from 2019 and onwards from the Jinling Shipyard in China.

“In spite of the challenges Brexit may lead to over the coming years, we can also see opportunities for providing our customers with new, valuable, customs clearance services after Brexit, should customs clearance become necessary. We are located in the ports and have experience with this from our UK to Norway service,” Niels Smedegaard concluded.