Brigit C.M. Gijsbers

Deputy Director-General for Aviation and Maritime Affairs | Director Maritime Affairs | Member of the IALA Council for the Netherlands

The maritime domain has changed quite rapidly during the last two decades, accelerated by tremendous technical developments – e.g. data-handling, communications -, consequently leading to higher user needs for accessible, in-time and reliable data and information supportive to safe and efficient navigation and maritime transport and logistic processes.  These needs were explored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and with the support of IALA substantially further identified during the conceptual development of e-Navigation.

In many areas in the world we notice an increase of vessel traffic with larger and faster ships, growing demands for alternative utilization of the maneuverable space at sea.

These developments not only put pressure on the safety of navigation and the efficiency of shipping but also leads to new perspectives on the future role, position and operational capabilities of maritime traffic management instruments such as Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).

New challenges are envisaged, such as the globally harmonized delivery of existing and additional maritime services from shore to ships, the protection of data and information, the introduction of new communication and navigation systems, the international developments concerning autonomous shipping. Still many organizational, operational, technical and legal issues are to be solved.

With the theme “Enhanced Maritime Safety and Efficiency by Connectivity” the 14 IALA Symposium provides in a unique global platform for international experts to discuss the challenges ahead and contribute to solutions that benefits the global maritime community.

I am looking forward to welcome you all from 19 – 23 April 2021 at this important IALA Symposium in Rotterdam.