Baltic Ferries Resuming Service From U.K.
Nearly four months after it was suspended due to travel restrictions related to the spread of the coronavirus, Baltic ferry service is set to resume just in time for the traditional summer holiday season.
Ferry operator DFDS announced that following the U.K. government’s decision lifting travel restrictions, it would resume passenger service with sailing between Newcastle, U.K. and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, as well as cross channel service between the U.K. and France.
When the travel restrictions went into effect in Europe, DFDS had reduced capacity focusing on its freight service on 20 routes. Passenger service was limited to essential travel and there were restrictions on the number of passengers per cabin. The company laid up 12 of its 50 ferries, including a total suspension of service on the Copenhagen-Oslo and Newcastle-Amsterdam routes that primarily carry passengers.
“We are very pleased that we can finally welcome our passengers back on the routes between the U.K. & Continent,” said Torben Carlsen, president and CEO of DFDS. “However, the routes will be running on reduced capacity and reduced onboard services as part of our COVID-19 measures to ensure the safety of our staff and passengers.”
DFDS offers daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam aboard the passenger ferries the King Seaways and Princess Seaways, both of which are currently laid up at Ijmuiden, Netherlands. Service will resume from the Netherlands on July 16 and the following day from the U.K.
In addition, English Channel services between the U.K. and France will resume on July 10. The Channel routes had continued to sail for freight and essential travelers ensuring the transport of vital goods to communities both sides of the channel. DFDS reports strong demand for reservations since the announcement that the travel restrictions would be lifted from the route.
DFDS also resumed sailings on the Oslo-Copenhagen route and a new service between Frederikshavn, Denmark and Oslo as of June 25. Two ferries will be operating this service with the focus being on passengers traveling for transportation purposes with their cars.
Despite the loosening of restrictions, DFDS however said that it would have to adapt to the new market conditions including changes to its onboard operations. As a result, the company said that it would be laying off 650 people from its workforce of approximately 8,600 employees.
The company expects that the majority of its passenger service will come from people traveling for transportation purposes including holiday travel. Onboard passengers will be asked to maintain social distances and most of the routes are requiring passengers to wear face masks.