Nautical chain

Numerous parties are involved in making sure vessels can navigate quickly and safely to the docks in the ports, both within the public and the private sector. All the links of the chain work together based on the principle of chain management. This can only be achieved through optimal collaboration, coordination, and information exchange between all the parties involved. This makes it possible for ships to navigate the Scheldt in a single, uninterrupted voyage.

The parties involved in the nautical chain

The parties involved in the nautical chain are divided into two groups: the authorities and the service providers. 

Joint Nautical Authority: the Joint Nautical Authority (JNA) handles the daily traffic control and coordination of shipping on the maritime approaches from its head office in Vlissingen.
Harbour master service: the Flemish harbour masters and Dutch harbour masters are responsible for the traffic control in the port area.

Service providers
Vessel Traffic Services (VTS): the primary task of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) is to provide traffic information to the waterway users.
Pilotage services: the pilots advise the captain about the navigation of the ship.
Towage services: the towage service companies provide towage services to very large, tide-dependent vessels. 
Shipping agents: the shipping agents represent the shipping companies within the ports.