Monika Copely, office manager at DFDS Seaways at the Port of Dover, explains that the company’s staff uniform has to be both practical and smart

DFDS is an award-winning ferry operator which offers frequent ferry crossings to France, Holland and Amsterdam. Founded in 1866, DFDS Seaways has recently been named Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator for the eighth consecutive year, and has been named the World’s Leading Ferry Operator since 2011, with another nomination in 2019.

Monika Copely is responsible for procuring and issuing the company’s staff uniform, which is selected and approved by the operations management team, in conjunction with HR. Staff feedback is also taken into account. “The most important consideration is practicality,” she explains. “Staff have to work in all locations, both inside and outdoors, so the garments must be hardwearing as well as smart.”

Of the 219 DFDS employees based in Dover, Monika says that 126 are operational staff based in the port and wearing uniform. “The current uniform policy provides a logo shirt or blouse, a branded safety tie or scarf, a branded navy blue jumper or cardigan, and navy blue trousers,” she says. “We don’t offer staff any choice in uniform options, but we do distinguish some job roles with coloured shirts — supervisors wear white shirts, loadmasters wear navy blue and coordinators wear light blue.”

In addition, all operational staff wear hi-vis jackets as part of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) uniform requirements, along with any other staff who have to be in the port, such as Onboard Services (OBS) staff visiting ships, or finance staff going for meetings in Terminal Control. “The hi vis is supplied by Ardee Hose in Dover,” says Monika. “They are decorated with thermal print on the left chest and rear of the jackets.” 

Aside from the jackets, Monika explains that most other items of uniform are embroidered, simply because it makes “the logo look smarter.” She adds: “The shirts, blouses, jumpers and cardigans are all embroidered, but the safety ties and scarves are printed.”

The hi-vis garments are supplied by Ardee Hose

The bulk of DFDS uniform is supplied by SM Bass & Co in Manchester. “We’ve held the contract with SM Bass for a number of  years. They are very easy to deal with and always keep me updated on our orders,” says Monika. “Our scarves come from Burlington Uniforms in Enfield. They’re a new supplier that have a very good range of well-priced products. Our ties our sourced from our head office in Copenhagen.” For those who would like to supply similar organisations to DFDS, Monika believes that quality and cost are key. “We’re always looking for good-quality items at a fair price,” she explains.