Final ferry link between Denmark and the UK closes

DFDS calls final journey between Esbjerg and Harwich “the end of an era”

The DFDS ferry link between Esbjerg and Harwich in England sails for the last time today. The company called the closing of the 140 year-old route "the end of an era”. The final crossing will mark the end of all passenger ferry services between Denmark and the UK.

The company said that the route had been “struggling for a long time” and blamed the loss of tax-free sales and increasing competition from low-cost airlines for a drop in passenger numbers that have plummeted from a peak of about 300,000 to around 80,000 customers annually. 

New EU regs behind closure
The death knell for the route were the new sulphur emission regulations due to come into force in January 2015. DFDS said they would have resulted in 2 billion kroner annual increase in costs.

“The new rules will considerably increase the costs operating the Esbjerg-Harwich route, making it no longer sustainable,”said chief executive of DFDS Seaways, Niel Smedegaard, in a statement. "The route is of particular historical significance to DFDS so it's a very sad day for us all to see the last passenger ferry route between the UK and Scandinavia close.”

READ MORE: DFDS closes Esbjerg to Harwich route

DFDS tried several strategies including combining freight and passenger services, aggressive marketing and cutting crew size and departures to rescue the historic route, but Smedegaard said the company had not been able to reduce costs enough to enable the route to bear the extra charges.