Sulphur requirements close key DFDS route

Ferry company to close Esbjerg-Harwich line

The ferry company DFDS has announced that it will close its Esbjerg-Harwich passenger and cargo line. The company has long had plans to close up to seven unprofitable routes and this is the first of these possible closures.

But Esbjerg-Harwich is also being closed because sulphur requirements in the North Sea to be introduced at the start of 2015. Instead, DFDS says a line between Esbjerg and the English port of Immingham may be strengthened instead.

“With today’s oil prices, the requirement for use of low-sulphur oil costs about DKK 20 million (€2.7 million) a year,” DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard said in a press release. “The route has special historical significance for DFDS, so it’s a very sad day for all of us.”

DFDS tried several initiatives to make the line profitable. The route went from passenger-only to combined passenger and cargo and employed fewer people.

Sulphur requirements have been costly for DFDS, which has invested heavily in scrubbers. Some analysts estimate that when DFDS is ready to fully adapt to environmental requirements it will have spent DKK 750 million.


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