LD Lines

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LD Lines
Fate Renamed DFDS Seaways
Founded 2005
Defunct 2015
Headquarters Suresnes, France
Area served
English Channel
Bay of Biscay
Key people
Pierre Gehanne, Chairman
Services Passenger transportation
Freight transportation
Parent Louis Dreyfus Armateurs
Divisions New Channel Company A/S
Website www.ldlines.com

LD Lines is a French shipping company. It is a freight operator, with both deep-sea and ferry operations. Its parent Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS engages in building, owning, operating, and managing vessels. It offers dry bulk transportation, bulk logistics and transportation, submarine cable installation, and offshore services.[1] LD Lines operates ferry routes on the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean Sea. In 2013, part of LD Lines merged with the English Channel operations of DFDS Seaways to form DFDS Seaways France. In September 2014, the Poole-Gijon/Santander route closed and the Norman Asturias was immediately laid up off the coast of Saint Nazaire and in Mid-September 2014, the Saint Nazaire-Gijon route was suspended and the Norman Asturias was sent to Algeciras and the Norman Atlantic to Messina.

New Channel Company A/S - DFDS Seaways France

In March 2012, DFDS and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs entered into an agreement to form a new company that combines DFDS and LD Lines ferry routes in the English Channel and one route between France and Tunisia.[2] During 2013 LD Lines Portsmouth-Le Havre, Newhaven-Dieppe and share of Dover-Calais operation were transferred to the new company known as DFDS Seaways France along with DFDS Seaways Dover-Dunkirk service. DFDS Seaways France is 82% owned by DFDS with the remaining 18% owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. LD Lines Saint-Nazaire–Gijón was not included in the transaction.

Le Havre–Portsmouth

LD Lines' English Channel operations commenced in October 2005, operating between Portsmouth, England and Le Havre, France. This service was introduced following the withdrawal of P&O Ferries' long-standing operation on this route.

Initially there was one sailing per day in each direction, with the Portsmouth–Le Havre sailing taking place overnight. This utilised one vessel, the MS Norman Spirit, which is ironically a former P&O vessel (used on their DoverCalais route until May 2005). In 2008 the Norman Voyager was introduced on the route, she was withdrawn in September 2009 and chartered to Celtic Link Ferries for service between Cherbourg and Rosslare and Cherbourg and Portsmouth. In November 2009 Norman Spirit was moved to the Dover–Boulogne route, her place was taken by Cote d'Albatre which remained on the route until the Norman Spirits return in 2011.

On July 13, 2007 it was reported that LD Lines had ordered a new ro-pax ferry for the route from Singapore Technologies Engineering, with an option for another ship of the same type.[3] The ship, which will be capable of carrying 1215 passengers will enter service in 2010 and be named Norman Leader.[4] She will be used on the route Le Havre–Portsmouth. On 17 March 2011, the contract for the purchase of the vessel was cancelled according to press release issued by ST Marine dated 19 March 2011. Reasons given for the cancellation are the delays and questions about the tonnage. The Norman Spirit resumed sailing on the Portsmouth–Le Havre route in early 2011 but was chartered to DFDS Seaways in November 2011 to increase capacity on the Dover–Dunkirk route following the collapse of Seafrance.[5] Norman Spirit's place was taken by the Norman Voyager.

The Portsmouth-Le Havre service was transferred to DFDS Seaways France in 2013 and is now fully marketed as a DFDS Seaways route. This route is due to close by the end of 2014 due to the route failing to make a profit.


LD Lines was one of five companies invited to tender for the operation of Transmanche Ferries service between Dieppe and Newhaven. P&O Stena Line operated the route until 1998 after which Hoverspeed operated the route until 2004. Because the French government did not want the route to be lost, they started a new subsidised company by the name of Transmanche Ferries in April 2001. After five years of successful service and the arrival of two newbuilds, the government decided to tender the line in a concession. The contract to operate the service was awarded to LD Lines on 21 December 2006. For this service they will receive an annual subsidy of up to €14.6 million. LD Lines commenced sailings on this route on 1 May 2007. In addition to three round trips between Dieppe and the Port of Newhaven, LD Lines started a single round trip per day between Le Havre and Newhaven during high season using the MS Seven Sisters. However in August 2008 they announced that this service would not be continued. Currently there are two sailings per day each way, one in the morning and one in the evening, using the Seven Sisters.

The Dieppe-Newhaven service was transferred to DFDS Seaways France in 2013 and is now fully marketed as a DFDS Seaways route.


LD Lines and DFDS Seaways announced on 7 February 2012 that they would be launching a joint service between Dover and Calais, commencing on 17 February 2012, using the Norman Spirit.[6] The two companies had previously submitted a joint bid for the assets of Seafrance which was turned down.[7] DFDS later chartered the Barfleur from Brittany Ferries to increase the number of sailings on the new route, she was replaced by the Dieppe Seaways.

The Dover-Calais service was transferred to DFDS Seaways France in 2013 and is now fully marketed as a DFDS Seaways route. Norman Spirit has since been renamed Calais Seaways.

Former Routes


LD Lines launched a Saint-NazaireGijón service on 2 September 2010 using the Norman Bridge. This route received a European Union subsidy as part of its Motorways of the Sea project. Such was the success of the service that the Norman Bridge was replaced by the larger Baltic Amber which was renamed Norman Asturias. Following the opening of the Poole-Santander route the Norman Asturias was replaced with the Scintu which has since been renamed Norman Atlantic, this route is currently suspended with Norman Atlantic released elsewhere.


On 3 November 2013, LD Lines launched a service between Poole, United Kingdom and Santander, Spain using the Norman Asturias.[8] This service was formerly operated by Brittany Ferries, the route closed on the 7th September 2014.


This service commenced on 4 January 2014, using the Norman Asturias.[9] The crossing time was 25 hours, the route closed on the 7th September 2014.


This service commenced in January 2014, using the "Norman Atlantic". It was also marketed as a Rosslare-Gijón via Saint-Nazaire service as the Norman Atlantic" on its usual Saint-Nazaire–Gijón after its round trip to Rosslare. The route closed at the end of August 2014.


LD Lines began operating this route from 18 March 2010 in partnership with TransEuropa Ferries, using the Norman Spirit, which has been renamed the Ostend Spirit. They also sold space on a TransEuropa Ferries vessel, the Larkspur. In March 2011, TransEuropa Ferries terminated their agreement with LD Lines and the chartered Norman Spirit was returned to LD lines.

Le Havre–Rosslare

In November 2008, LD Lines opened a weekly passenger and freight service between Le Havre and Rosslare, Republic of Ireland. The Norman Voyager operated on the route departing from Le Havre on Fridays and returning from Rosslare on Saturdays. The crossing time was 20 hours.[10] A significant customer of this service was Citroen who use the route to transport new cars to Ireland. The route closed when Norman Voyager was chartered to Celtic Link.


In February 2009, the company started sailing between Dover and Dieppe. The service operated daily with a journey time of around 4 hours 15 minutes, using the ferry "Cote d'Albatre". This was the first time that these two ports had been connected with a ferry service. The Dover–Dieppe service ceased on 29 June 2009, due to lack of traffic.


LD Lines and Boulogne Chamber of Commerce announced on 4 July 2008 that LD Lines would open a service between Boulogne and Dover from 1 July 2009.[11][12][13] It was initially planned that the company would initially operate four round trips a day between the two ports using the Norman Spirit with a second ship joining the route at a later date. In January 2009 it was announced by LD Lines that the route would start early and begin operating from 12 February 2009, using the Côte d’Albâtre, and that the Norman Spirit will, therefore, remain on the Portsmouth–Le Havre route.

Because the new Boulogne ferry terminal was not due to be completed until July 2009 the service initially utilised the terminal formerly used by SpeedFerries. For this service and the former Dover–Dieppe route, the Côte d’Albâtre was chartered to LD Lines from the Seine Maritime Council. The Côte d’Albâtre was joined in June 2009 by the 112 metre high speed catamaran Norman Arrow which operated four additional round trips on the route. Norman Arrow was built by Incat and was chartered from Irish based MGC Chartering. She was the largest catamaran operating on the English Channel.[14] Norman Arrow was deemed unsuccessful on the route and replaced by Norman Spirit in November 2009, she remained on the route until she was switched to a joint service with TransEuropa Ferries. Norman Spirit was replaced by Norman Bridge and Norman Trader.

On 16 August 2010 LD Lines confirmed that the Norman Bridge would be removed from the Dover–Boulogne route on 31 August 2010 and would be used on the St. Nazaire–Gijon route. The remaining services (operated by the Norman Trader) ceased on 5 September 2010.[15]

Current Fleet

LD Lines no longer exists.

Past ships

Ship Built Status
Norman Asturias 2007 Returned to Stena RoRo, currently on charter to Inter Shipping in the Med.
Norman Atlantic 2009 Returned to Visentini, on charter to Anek-Superfast
Norman Arrow 2009 Now KatExpress 1 with Max Mols
Norman Trader 1998 Now Stena Alegra with Stena Line
Norman Bridge 1998 Now ARV3 with Equinox Offshore
Norman Leader 2010 Order Cancelled by LD Lines, Vessel sold to Nova Star Cruises
Deal Seaways 1992 Returned to Brittany Ferries, renamed Barfleur
Norman Voyager 2008 Chartered to Brittany Ferries, renamed Etretat
Norman Spirit 1991 Transferred to DFDS Seaways France as Calais Seaways
Dieppe Seaways 2002 Transferred to DFDS Seaways France
Cote d'Albatre 2006 Transferred to DFDS Seaways France
Seven Sisters 2006 Transferred to DFDS Seaways France

LD Lines new vessel Norman Leader was due for delivery in summer 2011. The order was cancelled due to "capacities of the vessel not corresponding with those specified originally".[16] The Leader is slated to enter service on the Portland, MaineYarmouth, Nova Scotia route in 2014 as the Nova Star.[17]

The French press reported on March 23, 2012 that LD Lines have chartered the Barfleur from Brittany Ferries in partnership with DFDS Seaways for their DoverCalais service where she will be put into service starting April 27 and renamed MS Deal Seaways.[18]


  1. Marine - Company Overview of "Louis Dreyfus Armateurs"
  2. DFDS Seaways DFDS and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs form joint company for Channel ferry routes and France-Tunisia , accessed 11 December 2013
  3. [1]
  4. LD Lines - Pictures of the New Building!
  5. DFDS adds an extra ship to Dover–Dunkirk to help customers cross the Channel without unnecessary delays
  6. DFDS Seaways and LD Lines launch new Dover–Calais ferry route
  7. Bid for assets of SeaFrance not accepted
  8. LD Lines LD Lines To Launch New UK-Spain Service, accessed 11 December 2013
  9. LD Lines LD Lines To Add New Spain Ferry Links, accessed 11 December 2013
  10. Rosslare–Le Havre Timetable
  11. Mer et Marine (in French) - LD Lines ouvre une nouvelle ligne entre Boulogne et Douvres
  12. La Voix du Nord (in French) - LD Lines en bonne place pour une 2e ligne Boulogne - Douvres
  14. Incat - Sea Trials Success for Incat's third 112 metre wave piercing catamaran
  15. LD Lines website: Boulogne-Dover
  16. Cruise Business Online Norman Leader order cancelled, accessed 22 March 2011
  17. Portland Press Herald New Portland–Yarmouth ferry ship had past safety issue, accessed 7 October 2013
  18. http://www.lavoixeco.com/actualite/Secteurs_activites/Transport_et_Logistique/2012/03/23/article_dfds-ld-lineslancent-un-second-navire-sur-la.shtml

External links