Cora van Nieuwenhuizen

Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management

The Netherlands is a land of water. A country with a rich maritime history and a flourishing maritime industry that makes its mark around the world.

We are a flag state, a port state and a coastal state. The maritime ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam – with over 100,000 vessels arriving and departing annually – make us an important gateway to Europe. The ports are connected to the hinterland by a network of inland waterways that sees hundreds of thousands of ship movements each year.

Because of the Netherlands’ location on the North Sea, with its busy shipping lanes, there are also around 250,000 ship movements annually along our coast.

All this explains why safe, efficient and sustainable shipping is of the utmost importance for our country. It’s why the Netherlands was one of the founders of IALA in 1957 and has been closely involved in the work of the organisation ever since. Ever attentive to future trends and developments, we also contribute expertise and experience to the various IALA Committees. Finally, various Dutch organisations and companies are prominent Associate and Industrial Members.

As the Netherlands’ Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management I am proud and honoured to host the 14th IALA Symposium in 2021. There will be a lot to discuss!

The maritime domain is changing rapidly in the face of new challenges and developments, like the globally harmonised delivery of existing and additional maritime services from shore to ships, the protection of data and information, new communication and navigation systems, autonomous shipping and sustainability.

These developments have implications for the safety of navigation and the efficiency of shipping, but also open up new prospects for the future role, position and operational capabilities of maritime traffic management instruments such as Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).

The 14th IALA Symposium will offer a unique platform for international experts to discuss these challenges. I look forward to seeing all the international experts on VTS and e-Navigation and the IALA organisation online from 12 – 16 April 2021.