In order to get a ship safely and smoothly to the quay in a port, many different players, from both the public and the private sector, are actively involved. All links work together according to the principle of chain operation. This can only be achieved through optimal cooperation, coordination, and data exchange between all the stakeholders. We see the voyage as one uninterrupted journey.

Chain operation stakeholders

On the basis of powers, there are two groups: the authorities and the service providers.


  • Common Nautical Authority (CNA)
    From Vlissingen, the CNA takes care of the daily traffic handling and coordination on the maritime access roads.
  • Port Captain’s Service
    The Flemish and Dutch port captains are responsible for the traffic handling in the port area.

Service providers

  • Pilot services
    The pilots advise the captain on the navigation of the ship.
  • Traffic Control/Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)
    The main task of traffic control or VTS is to provide traffic information to waterway users.
  • Towing services
    The towing service companies provide towage assistance to particularly large, tidal vessels.
  • Shipping agents
    The agents represent the shipping companies within the ports.