New tonnage for DFDS’s Newcastle – Amsterdam Route on Hold

An artists impression of how the new DFDS Amsterdam - Newcastle ferries will look. DFDS
An artists impression of how the new DFDS Amsterdam - Newcastle ferries would look. DFDS

Ship-swap agreement with Moby Lines cancelled after Moby Fails to Meet Delivery Terms

Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS has confirmed that an agreement to acquire MOBY AKI and MOBY WONDER in exchange for PRINCESS SEAWAYS and KING SEAWAYS has been cancelled.  The swap, which also involved DFDS paying Moby Lines a significant sum of cash, would have seen the current ferries on the Newcastle to Amsterdam (IJmuiden) route replaced with newer vessels.  

According to reports from Italy, Moby’s parent company has been having financial difficulties with the company recently avoiding bankruptcy proceedings brought by creditors unhappy at the sale of MOBY AKI and MOBY WONDER.  Last week ship2shore (paywalled) reported that the Unicredit and MPS banks were refusing to release the vessels from their mortgages at the request of bondholders, thus preventing the sale and delivery of the ships taking place.  Yahoo Finance (IT) quotes the president of Moby, Vincenzo Onorato, as saying Unicredit is responsible for blocking the sale and that the company will be taking them to court for compensation.

PRINCESS SEAWAYS. DFDS.
PRINCESS SEAWAYS. DFDS.

The sale of the two vessels was the latest in a number of vessel sales this year including that of BARBARA KRAHULIK to TT-Line and near-sister HARTMUT PUSCHMANN to an un-named foreign buyer. BARBARA KRAHULIK is currently on her way to Gdansk after a brief charter back to her former owner following confirmation of her sale during July. There have also been rumours that the company have agreed to sell another near-sister, BENIAMINO CARNEVALE,

MOBY WONDER. Moby Lines
MOBY WONDER. Moby Lines

Delivery of the ships to DFDS had been scheduled to take place in the “second half” of this month. The vessels were to have been renamed NEWCASTLE SEAWAYS and AMSTERDAM SEAWAYS.  MOBY WONDER and MOBY AKI have recently been undergoing work at Genoa. This is likely to have been related to meeting the delivery terms for the vessels (such as restoring bow door access).

An artists impression of how DFDS's AMSTERDAM SEAWAYS and NEWCASTLE SEAWAYS could have looked. DFDS.
An artists impression of how DFDS’s AMSTERDAM SEAWAYS and NEWCASTLE SEAWAYS could have looked. DFDS.

The termination of the agreement between DFDS and Moby means the current ships, PRINCESS SEAWAYS and KING SEAWAYS, will remain on the Amsterdam – Newcastle link until an alternative solution is found. Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division has said:

“We will continue to explore solutions for a renewal of the ferries on the Amsterdam-Newcastle route in line with our customers’ wishes and our strategic ambitions for the route and for DFDS.

The two current ferries offer a great service today, and they will continue doing so until a new solution with new ferries is in place. Therefore, this will not change our plans for developing the route, it will merely delay it,”

It remains to be seen what alternative solution will be found as there are not many current ships that would be suitable for the route.  Such a solution may even involve MOBY AKI and MOBY WONDER should they become available again, but that does not look likely until the financial situation at the Moby group of companies is resolved one way or another.