Copenhagen-based DFDS Group intends to expand its logistics offering to Scottish salmon-growers, starting with its eight-year-old chilling facility at Larkhall, Scotland, where 140,000 tonnes of salmon and some shellfish at a time are kept cool, SalmonBusiness learned Tuesday.
Asked if they were specifically ready for more salmon volumes, the response was clear: “(We’re) not at full capacity. (We) extended in 2016 and we have plans to extend again in 2018. We are planning for the growth,” said DFDS head of communications, Gert Jacobsen.
Boxes of frozen Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms, The Scottish Salmon Company and Cooke Aquaculture Scotland were among the 23,341 loads transported from Larkhall alone in 2015 to local and global restaurants, supermarkets, processors and distributors. The Larkhall Chilling Facility — with its 7,100 square feet of coolers and two blast freezers for 42 pallets of seafood at a time — opened in 1999 with 23 employees. Those staff numbers have tripled.
DFDS took over the Larkhall site when it bought ferry and logistics company Norfolkline and its 550 refrigerated trailers in 2010. Maersk Company had since 1985 owned Norfolkline’s 1.2 million freight movements a year along the English Channel, Irish Sea and North Sea.
All that is now DFDS, and the company isn’t finished. Mr. Jacobsen said they read salmon news and are aware of the industry’s expansion and coming volumes.
“Yes we have expanded. We’ve taken over a few companies. We are extending our (chill) capacity at the moment,” he said, modestly adding later in an email that depots with chilled facilities at Grimsby, Aberdeen and Bellshill (15 kilometers from Larkhill) were set to grow.
“No major plans other than the extension(s),” he said, adding that Larkhall offered clients the advantage of being “purpose-built for the (seafood) industry”, well located and added value with freezing, storage, order-picking and package recycling. In all, fish stays at the site for no more than “four to 24 hours”.
While the company is expanding to meet seafood freight needs, it’s had to close down a freight terminal at Esbjerg, Denmark. Esbjerg, however, is still a “historically important freight route”, as it carries “a very large part of Danish exports to England.”
In Denmark, DFDS will now buy modern terminal services at Esbjerg from Blue Water Shipping, a major logistics planner with the recently disclosed idea of moving Icelandic salmon to Denmark. SalmonBusiness could not obtain comment on the details of BlueWater’s plans, except that they seemed to revolve around a Ro-Ro vessel operation (roll-on, roll-off) for cold trailers.