The new much larger Molslinjen

A merged Molslinjen and Danske Færger hold both the north and south corridors parallel to the Great Belt Bridge, but will still only carry every eighth car across Denmark.

The final documents have been signed and the shares with a nominal value of 594.1 million DKK are transferred from private company Clipper Group and state-owned Bornholmstrafikken Holding, the two partners behind Danske Færger, to the private limited company Molslinjen.

EXPRESS 1, one of Molslinjens InCat-ferries has just arrived in Ystad (Sweden) from Rønne on Bornholm. Above: The latest new Molslinjen brand; BORNHOLMSLINJEN. During the coming month brands like ALSLINJEN, LANGELANDSLINJEN, SAMSØLINJEN and FANØLINJEN will follow.

Denmark’s two only ferry operators with cross-country routes are now assembled as one large unit in competition with the state-owned fixed link across The Great Belt.

The new Molslinjen will however still be a small player in the cross-country traffic numbers for cars. Molslinjen and Danske Færger transported in 2017 a total of 7.4 million passengers and almost 2.5 million cars divided out on a total of nine routes.

Late afternoon arrival in Aarhus from Sjællands Odden.

Out of them, 1.4 million cars were transported on the two alternative cross-country corridors; Aarhus/Ebeltoft-Sjællands Odden and Spodsbjerg-Taars, respectively north and south of the fixed link. By comparison, about 11.2 million cars drove over The Great Belt Bridge in 2017.

Thus, the new much larger Molslinjen measured in 2017-numbers, will only get a share of car traffic in the Danish east/west-corridor of around 12.5 percent. However, Molslinjen has in recent years recorded an increase in transported cars, and more important also an increased share in the east/west-corridor.

Danske Færgers busiest operation is the short high-frequent life-line route between the island Fanø and the huge west coast port of Esbjerg.

After the final takeover of Danske Færger the high-frequency high speed-operation on Kattegat remains the company’s largest activity, measured on both cars and passengers, which are almost 1.3 and 2.9 million respectively of a total sum of almost 2.5 million cars and 7.4 million passengers, gained from the two merged ferry companies 2017-numbers.

The corridor south of The Great Belt Bridge.

Danske Færger’s almost equivalent annual total number of cars, but considerable higher annual passenger counts, were in 2017 and until the end of August this year, generated on a total of seven different routes.

By far the largest of these is the life-line connection between the island of Fanø and Esbjerg in the south-western part of Jutland. This alone counted for 389,470 cars and more than 1.7 million passengers in 2017, driven by the tourist industry.

Spodsbjerg, Denmark
Present and former tonnage on the route between Spodsbjerg and Taars.

The second largest area is Bornholm, where Molslinjen took over the concession from 1 September this year. Here in 2017, Danske Færger transported a total of 397,429 passenger cars and more than 1.6 million passengers on the total of three routes, two of which (Rønne-Ystad and Rønne-Køge) are part of the contract with the Danish State.

The route between Rønne and Sassnitz have been operated on purely commercial terms by Danske Færger, with a total of 30,766 cars and 107,700 passengers in 2017. Molslinjen will continue this commercial route with a planned increased capacity throughout the year.

In addition to the routes Rønne-Ystad and Rønne-Køge, which was obtained by Molslinjen in a public tender, the acquisition of Danske Færger furthermore brings another three publicly-funded routes into the portfolio of ferry crossings.

EXPRESS 1 departs Rønne.

These are the eastern connection from the island of Samsø to Kalundborg, where the current contract expires at the turn of the year 2024/25. The Bøjden – Fynshav route in the southern part of Denmark has a contract expiry 30 April 2024 – and finally the concession on Spodsbjerg – Taars, the southern corridor parallel to The Great Belt Bridge, runs until April 2028.

The route between Esbjerg and Fanø is also a life-line route, but its huge potential gained from tourists, makes it independent of any public subsidies from the municipality of Esbjerg.

Danske Færger’s VILLUM CLAUSEN is now sold to Greek Seajets.

2017 key figures for Molslinjen vs. Danske Færger

Net sales
Molslinjen: 761,400,000 DKK
Danske Færger: 1,060,724,000 DKK
Annual results
Molslinjen: 120,400,000 DKK
Danske Færger: 124,036,000* DKK
Molslinjen: 435,100,000 DKK
Danske Færger: 940,567,000 DKK
Number of employees
Molslinjen: 281
Danske Færger: 585
Number of departures
Molslinjen: 7,549
Danske Færger 55,471
Number of transported cars
Molslinjen: 1,256,278
Danske Færger: 1,194,700
Number of transported passengers
Molslinjen: 2,949,882
Danske Færger: 4,466,001
Number of transported trucks/trailers
Danske Færger: 90,900
*) Incl. net profit from the sale of HAMMERODDE. Profit 2016: 44.4 million DKK.

Molslinjens newbuilt ro/pax-ferry HAMMERSHUS arrives Rønne from Køge. In a few hours it will continue on the purely commercial route to Sassnitz in Germany.

The Molslinjen fleet in mid-2019

During the first quarter of 2019, when the Austal-built EXPRESS 4 has been introduced on the Aarhus-Sjællands Odden route, the shipping company will control a total of five high speed ferries, nine conventional car and passenger ferries and one passenger ship. The average age of the fleet will be approx. 17.4 years. Molslinjens total passenger capacity will have risen nearly 70 percent, car capacity by almost 48 percent. and total gross tonnage by around 46 percent.

  • Passenger capacity on high speed ferries: 5,180 (4,188)
  • Car capacity on high speed ferries: 1,894 (1,469)
  • Total gross tonnage from high speed ferries: 48,638* (37,838)
  • Passenger capacity on other ships: 5,701 (2,220)
  • Car capacity on other ships: 1,177 (613)
  • Total gross tonnage from other ships: 50,948 (30,367)
    *) Estimated gross tonnage of EXPRESS 4 at 10,800. In bracket: numbers by October 2018
LOLLAND, one of the two 2012-built modern and efficient sister ferries on the southern corridor, loads in Taars.

Molslinjen mid-2019 in a global comparison

Molslinjens total gross tonnage (GT): 99,286

  • The world’s 20th largest ferry operator (China Shipping) 182,210 GT
  • The world’s largest ferry company (Stena Group) 935,898 GT

Molslinjens total passenger capacity: 10,881

  • The world’s 20th largest ferry operator (China Shipping) 12,512 PAX
  • The world’s largest ferry company (Onorato Armatori) 44,147 PAX

Molslinjens total car capacity: 3,071

  • The world’s 20th largest ferry operator (Anek Lines) 3,173 CEU
  • The world’s largest ferry company (Onorato Armatori) 11,888 CEU

Various shipping companies’ input of newbuilt tonnage until mid-2019 included. Potential sales of ships until mid-2019 not included. Primary source: Ship Pax

HAMMERSHUS departs Rønne.
FYNSHAV soon to be operated under the ALSLINJEN brand.


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