DFDS Seaways sells historic Oslo-Copenhagen route to Gotlandsbolaget

   June 11, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

Denmark’s renowned ferry operator, DFDS Seaways, has announced the sale of one of its longest-running routes, a service that has been operational since the company's founding in 1866. The route, which runs between Norway's Oslo and Denmark's Frederikshavn and Copenhagen, will be acquired by the Swedish company Rederi Gotland AB (aka Gotlandsbolaget), the parent company of Destination Gotland Ab. This transaction includes two ships, terminals, and the associated employees.

This service is regarded as a “cherished public institution” in Denmark and Norway, and both companies have assured that the service will continue without interruption. Gotlandsbolaget is paying ~US$57.6 million for the route and expects the transaction to be finalized in October. DFDS will continue to serve the route until October 31st.

According to DFDS, this route transports 700,000+ passengers annually and generated revenue of ~US$130 million in 2023, accounting for ~3% of DFDS’s total revenue. DFDS explained that the decision to sell the route was due to its primary focus on passenger travel with limited freight capacity and market size. The route mainly serves leisure travelers, offering a mini-cruise that lasts ~19 hours overnight, covering ~275 nautical miles between the two countries.

Gotlandsbolaget will acquire the Ro-Ro cruise ferries Pearl Seaways and Crown Seaways as part of the deal. The Crown Seaways, introduced in 1994 and measuring 35,500 GT (gross tons), can accommodate 1,790 passengers and 450 cars. The Pearl Seaways, built in 1989 and measuring 40,000 GT, can accommodate 1,800 passengers and 320 cars. Additionally, Gotlandsbolaget will take over the port and terminal agreements and will integrate ~800 sea and land-based employees into its operations.

Gotlandsbolaget currently operates four ferries on the route between Gotland and the Swedish mainland, with terminals in Visby, Nynashamn, and Oskarshamn. The two newly acquired vessels will remain registered in Denmark, and Gotlandsbolaget plans to launch a new brand for this operation. This year, the company also relaunched the Birka Stockholm operations, another cruise ferry service that was acquired after the original operator ceased operations during the crisis.