We can feel proud, and satisfied. In 2021, despite ongoing uncertainties and ever-changing measures Dutch Pilotages Services helped ensure that ships navigated through the Dutch ports safely and smoothly. Our 92,039 acts of pilotage exceeded the volume we had forecast for the year – a great result which we accomplished in close cooperation with our logistics chain partners in the ports.
Organisation in order
Our services are in order, and the same can be said about the structure of our organisation. With the passing of the new Dutch law updating the market regulatory system for registered pilots (Wet actualisatie markttoezicht registerloodsen, WAMR), we now have clarity on the legal framework for the organisation and the pilotage profession. In addition, we worked hard in 2021 on a number of important issues, such as restructuring our continuing education regime, improving our risk management and control system, introducing Loodsplicht Nieuwe Stijl (a new system regulating Pilotage Exemption Certificates and related matters), and developing a new cost allocation system. Furthermore, we established a new policy plan, including concrete objectives and actions. The frameworks are in place. What we need to do now in the coming years is actually implement the objectives set out in the policy plan.
Working on sustainability
One of our bigger challenges in the coming years is sustainability. How are we going to forge ahead in the energy transition, especially with regard to the fleet? Will we be able to meet the 2050 targets set in the Green Deal and the European Climate Law? That’s no small task. Last year we set our target: we aim to cut carbon emissions by 12.5% in 2025 compared to 2020.
Interaction leads to better results
That we could collaborate intensively and constructively over the past year – both internally and externally - with partners in the sector and with government agencies – fills us with confidence. More gets accomplished when parties collaborate than when they each work on their own; the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. We became very much aware of this in 2021, for example, when drawing up the new tariff proposal. In close consultation, we adapted to the exceptional circumstances and demonstrated our flexibility.
‘Moving forward together with confidence’
Collaboration and trust are keywords for me in the maritime sector, and they are the key to success. You can’t make it on your own; together we can go further. This underscores the importance of listening carefully to each other, and understanding the struggles that other market parties also have. Don’t retreat to your own island: help each other out. That’s something we did very well this last year. And now we look to the future with confidence.
Chair, Dutch Maritime Pilots Corporation
2021 at a glance
In 2021, Covid continued to have an unprecedented impact on the lives of people around the globe. This also made piloting seagoing vessels difficult and even more challenging than usual.
Covid and acts of pilotage
First and foremost, the virus had a major impact on the health and lives of the employees and pilots. In addition, the pandemic had operational consequences for pilotage in general. With a lot of flexibility and commitment, we managed to limit the negative consequences on the pilotage service.
In 2021, we undertook more acts of pilotage than forecast, a total of 92,039 acts of pilotage compared to our forecast of 91,006. We do see that the average pilotage dues were somewhat lower, however, and as a result revenue was about 1.2% below budget. In 2021, more vessels with a shallower draft requested a pilot. This explains the slight decline in revenue given that these types of vessels pay lower pilotage dues. Given the circumstances, we can conclude that we performed well.
Offshore operations on the rise
Many plans are in the pipeline for new wind farms to be built in the North Sea. This is generating a lot of marine traffic to and from these offshore new-build locations, which in turn results in an increasing number of acts of pilotage, especially from the Eemshaven seaport and the Port of Den Helder. In our own simulators, we train our people to pilot the special vessels needed to ship materials and such to these new wind farm locations.
Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation as knowledge centre
The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation is recognised as a key knowledge partner, one that aspires to work together with others in the logistics chain. Our registered maritime pilots in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region participated last year in the Windlass joint industry project, an international study (run by Maritime Research Institute Netherlands MARIN) into wind loads on vessels.
This year we also worked together on the Dynamic Keel Clearance (DKC) project held in the Sloehaven port in Vlissingen-Oost. The DKC system uses new tide calculations to ensure that ships with a deeper draft can safely enter the port channel, thus increasing the accessibility of the ports.
Testing the new ferry
A new ferry service will start between the seaport of Eemshaven and Norway on 1 April 2022. The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation was closely involved in the preparations for this ferry service. For example, over the course of 2021 we carried out various simulations with a number of pilots at MARIN in Wageningen. The aim was to investigate how the ferry can get in and out of the port safely and smoothly when faced with varying wind forces and currents. This is an excellent example of the advisory role in all things nautical that we at the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation are more than happy to fulfil.
The largest sea lock in the world operational
Over the last few years, the largest sea lock in the world has been built at the entrance to the North Sea Canal near the port city of IJmuiden. The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation was also closely involved in various aspects of this project, right from the design phase and determining the location to the construction. Naturally, we added our input when it came to pilotage matters; however, we also brainstormed on practical matters like the best placement of lighting on the lock complex and how this lighting could best be installed. Then, together with the Dutch water management authority Rijkswaterstaat and Central Nautical Management North Sea Canal Area (CNM), we tested the lock with various vessels in various situations. We started with small ships and gradually moved on to larger and larger ones. There was a pilot on board each ship to carry out tests, while staff coordinated the test programme from the lock wall. This yielded large volumes of valuable data for Rijkswaterstaat and research institute Deltares to analyse.
PEC new style comes into effect
On 1 January 2021, new legislation came into effect in the Netherlands concerning compulsory pilotage and with this a new Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) regime. A shipmaster is tested on whether he or she has adequate knowledge of the particular port and port waters. If the shipmaster passes the test, he or she receives a PEC, meaning this shipmaster can enter the port without a pilot. So far the new rules have not resulted in a significant increase in the number of PEC holders, though it is not yet clear to what extent this is attributable to Covid restrictions. It is expected that more PECs will be granted in the years to come; after all, it takes time to come far enough to meet the requirements for becoming a PEC holder.
Passed: new Dutch law WAMR
The bill on updating the market regulatory system for registered pilots (Wet actualisatie markttoezicht registerloodsen; WAMR) presented to the Dutch House of Representatives in 2021 was passed without debate. After several questions for clarification were asked, the Dutch Senate also passed the bill without amendment. The law, which came into effect on 1 January 2022, sets out provisions concerning setting the hourly tariffs of the registered pilots and the annual indexation. This was an important starting point for the Dutch Pilots Corporation, the umbrella body representing the interests of Dutch registered pilots. The introduction of the all-in hourly tariffs for the use of registered pilots and a frequency discount for an increasing number of calls (pilotage acts) have consequences for the calculation of our tariffs. This is worked out further in the cost allocation system. In 2021, we developed a new system in accordance with the requirements.
2022 tariffs proposal submitted in one go
In the normal cycle, submitting the tariffs proposal to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) involves two steps, where we submit the first, regular proposal by 15 July and then an adjusted proposal in the autumn, based on an updated estimate of the number of pilotage acts. This year, however, there were many uncertainties and varying estimates on the number of pilotage acts due to the Covid pandemic. That is why, just like in 2020, we submitted both the regular and the adjusted tariffs proposal in one go. This allowed us more time to monitor the effects of Covid on the number of pilotage acts and to include a better estimate in the tariffs proposal.
In the submitted proposal, we included a tariff increase of 1.66% to take effect on 1 January 2022. ACM has agreed with the tariff proposal and recorded the proposed increase in a Tariff Decree.
In the Flemish Scheldt region, a different arrangement for drawing up a tariff proposal and tariff decision applies because of cross-border interests and collaboration. There, the SOLOS working group – a collaborative consultation body in which the Flemish and Dutch pilotage services in the Scheldt region participate – submits a specific tariff proposal for the Scheldt navigation area to the Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works who sets the tariffs for this region. The Flemish minister has not yet implemented a tariff amendment for the period starting 1 January 2022 (the same applies for 1 January 2021).
Safer use of pilot ladders
For some time now, a lot of attention has been paid to the quality and use of pilot ladders, in the Netherlands as well as in other countries. Attention is being drawn to this topic on social media, like the Facebook group #dangerousladders, and the websites of a number of pilots (e.g. pilotladdersafety.com). The matter has also now been taken up at a higher level. The International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) and the European Maritime Pilots’ Association (EMPA) provide information about safer use of pilot ladders. The annual IMPA Pilot Boarding Safety Campaign took place in October 2021. Worldwide there are still too many potentially dangerous situations though. International legislation is being drawn up, and we are participating in discussions about new guidelines to enhance safety further through our representation (as the Dutch Pilots Corporation) in the IMPA.
New compass: 2021-2025 policy plan
The Dutch Pilots Corporation (NLc) has a new ‘compass’. NLc’s 2021-2025 policy plan was adopted on 8 June. This policy plan, which is based on our mission, vision and strategy, is a significant source of guidance for our activities in the coming years. To achieve the objectives of the plan, we make annual plans where we define concrete actions, including an estimate of the financing, staff and time required to implement these. We then include the results of the estimate in our annual budget. Corporate social responsibility is an important area of focus in the policy plan.
20 new pilots
In 2021, we were pleased to welcome 20 new colleagues, recent graduates of the ‘Opleiding tot Registerloods: Master in Maritime Piloting (OTR:MMP)’ programme, from three regions: Amsterdam-IJmond (3), Rotterdam-Rijnmond (13), and Scheldt (4). It was important that this programme was able to continue despite the difficult circumstances, and equally important that, with a lot of perseverance and flexibility, the students managed to successfully complete the programme. In 2021, 18 new students started the OTR:MMP programme.
Having a sufficient number of new pilots entering the profession is a critical issue and we have now recruited a new member to our staff to concentrate on this and help find solutions. For example, together with a specialised agency we are working on a sector employment campaign. In addition, in 2021 we launched a pilot with an employment agency that supplies candidates for the OTR:MMP. Our new ‘werken bij’ (recruitment) site went live in the autumn of 2021, making it easier for jobseekers to indicate their interest in a position online. The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation has been working with other parties in the port on recruitment in the maritime sector for several years. For example, we participate in the various open port days, the Maritime-based study project competition (for students in senior secondary education), and regional job fairs. Unfortunately, events could not always go ahead due to the Covid pandemic.
Outlook for 2022
Along with all the technological developments our profession is also evolving. So, it’s essential that we keep up with the times and grow along with these developments. More than ever, the registered pilot plays the pivotal role when it comes to information provision on board a vessel. Now, in addition to mastery over the basic skills of the trade, the registered pilot increasingly has to gain new knowledge and skills, especially in the field of IT. We adjust our courses and course material on an ongoing basis accordingly. Seasoned pilots also take continuing education courses throughout their career.
Digitalisation and data
We keep our internal organisation and operations up to date through the smart application of digitalisation and data. In the coming year, we will continue to work on describing and optimising internal processes and monitoring and controlling these. Quality assurance at its best. Because we are taking an increasingly data-driven approach, the importance of securing that data is also increasing.
Cybersecurity high on the agenda
In 2021, we successfully withstood various cyberattacks on our IT systems. We have invested a lot of time and energy in analysing and evaluating these threats and have taken improvement measures. We stay abreast of developments in this area at all times. This means that cybersecurity will remain high on our agenda and continue to have high priority over the coming years.
Sustainability: a policy spearhead
Another priority for the coming years is sustainability. The energy transition and sustainability reporting are part of this. 2022 will see the Dutch Maritime Pilots Organisation make preparations to be able to report qualitative and quantitative future and historical sustainability data from 2023 onwards, including the associated key performance indicators, achievements in this area and targets for the future. In the Dutch Pilotages Services’ policy plan, we set the target of reducing carbon emissions by 12.5% by 2025 compared to 2020. Ultimately, these emissions have to end up at net zero. This means that from 2022 we will have to take even bigger steps towards making the vessels we use and build more sustainable.
Will the students keep coming?
In the longer term, we are concerned about the number of students entering programmes in our trade. Due to the tight labour market, the talent pond is becoming smaller and smaller. Targeted action is needed to interest young people in the wonderful profession of registered pilot. Just like last year, in 2022 we will continue to actively draw the attention of seafarers, maritime academies and nautical colleges to the profession of registered pilot. In the course of 2022, we will approach more recruitment agencies to look for suitable candidates with a higher professional education diploma. And we are looking at what we can do to encourage students in intermediate vocational education (MBO) programmes to move on to higher vocational education (HBO) programmes. In our view, an HBO programme in maritime transport in which an MBO graduate enrols should be shorter because of these students’ previously acquired competencies. The content of our ‘recruitment’ site will be further enriched and updated over the course of 2022.
Working together and staying connected
Personal contact and short lines of communication are essential in our work. Given this, an important task for 2022 is working together and staying connected, both within the organisation and with outside parties. We are active in the logistics chain, work together with our partners, share data, and coordinate our capacity. Collaboration and information sharing are indispensable for the major tasks around making ports in the Netherlands more sustainable. We can’t do it alone. We work together with other port service providers and technology companies to share knowledge, exchange experiences, and set up joint pilot projects. In this exchange between all the various parties, including the Dutch government, the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation would like to play an active and coordinating role.
Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation’s key figures for 2021
Key figures table
Total number of acts of pilotage
Of which: Dutch Scheldt
Of which: Flemish Scheldt
Of which: North region
Of which: Amsterdam-IJmond region
Of which: Rotterdam-Rijnmond region
Of which: Scheldt region
Total revenue (x €1,000)
Result (x €1,000)
Average number of registered pilots (in FTEs)
Average number of employees (in FTEs)
With an employment contract
Investments (x €1,000)
Capital base (x €1,000)
About the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation
The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation is an independent organisation that works in the public interest. Our main charge is the pilotage of seagoing vessels to and from all Dutch seaports and the Flemish ports on the Scheldt river. In this way we contribute to the safety of ships and crew, the economic success of ports, and the protection of public security interests associated with maritime sea transport. The charge of providing pilotage services is exclusively reserved for registered pilots. ACM monitors the price development of our services and annually sets the tariffs for ships calling at Dutch ports.
Mission, vision and strategy
In 2019, one single mission, vision and strategy was formulated for the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation, an organisation that encompasses several entities, each with their own separate tasks, but which together provide the pilotage service in the Netherlands and the Flemish ports on the Scheldt.
With our mission statement we declare what we stand for as Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation.
‘Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation is an independent, reliable, high-quality partner in the logistics chain for the safe and smooth pilotage of seagoing vessels from, to and through the Dutch seaports and Flemish ports on the Scheldt.’
Professionals at work
The foundation of the pilotage service is the registered pilots’ independent practice of their profession combined with the position of the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation as a semi-public organisation. Together, these aspects guarantee a good balance between public and private interests and position the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation as a high-quality partner in the maritime logistics chain.
The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation carries out the public and private tasks and related activities that have been assigned to the pilots, without losing sight of opportunities that can make the organisation and its stakeholders stronger. The vision is based on three pillars:
a future-proof, leading pilotage service;
a pilotage service that strengthens the logistics chain;
a valued discussion partner and advisor.
We use our strategy as stated below to put our vision into action. In the annual report we account for our services, operations and result on the basis of the three pillars mentioned in our vision:
Role of the pilot
The pilot is a highly trained professional who advises a shipmaster on how to safely navigate the vessel in and out of the port and, with his/her permission, acts as a participant in the marine traffic. The pilot is an expert who assists the team on the bridge with his/her knowledge, using modern technological tools as well. The pilot contributes to ensuring safe, smooth service in the maritime transport chain. The pilot bears in mind public interests, and private interests as well. The pilot plays a role in several domains, providing advice, both requested and on his/her own initiative, in various consultative bodies on a wide range of maritime-related matters, all with the same objective of promoting safe and efficient shipping traffic. Within the Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) structure, pilots are an integral part of the safe handling of shipping traffic.
Committed, reliable and expert are the core values for the pilots and employees of the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation. These three values form our moral compass and the core of our organisation.
Our pilots and staff consider it a privilege to be part of the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation, their own organisation that fulfils such an important social and legal charge. As such, they are all committed to and involved in the enterprise. Their commitment then naturally also extends to the maritime world in general, which is reflected in the efficient services we provide as an organisation. We take our responsibility seriously and put the collective interest above each individual’s personal interest. Only through collective involvement can we grow as an organisation and continue to carry out our social and legal charge with passion.
The shipping industry is counting on us; it needs us. We carry out our work in all weathers, punctually, and using the most modern means and technologies. We are always there on demand. All of this makes us a reliable and predictable partner for our stakeholders, from port authorities to policymakers and from peer service providers to people who live and work in and around the ports.
With our expertise we offer certainty and live up to the trust placed in us. We constantly look at ourselves with a critical eye; after all, our expertise is not a given, but something we want to continue to develop in ourselves. We continuously improve our knowledge and skills through training, knowledge development and innovation. We share our knowledge, skills and experience with others.
Government agencies and regulatory authorities are placing increasingly stringent demands on the governance and transparency of semi-public organisations like the regional and national pilotage corporations. We applaud this social trend. After all, these entities perform an important public service, and it is our responsibility to explain how we carry out our charge.
Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation: a little background
Up until 1 September 1988, the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation was a State pilot authority. On 1 September 1988 the organisation was privatised and mandated with its main charge of handling the pilotage of seagoing vessels to and from the Dutch seaports and the Flemish ports on the Scheldt river. This charge is exclusively reserved for registered pilots. The way in which the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation is organised and financed is stipulated by law. The continuity and quality of the pilotage services are therefore embedded in legislation and regulations. ACM monitors the price development of our services and annually sets the tariffs for ships calling at Dutch ports.
The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation is the name under which a number of entities, each with their own tasks and responsibilities, jointly provide efficient pilotage services in the Dutch seaports and the Flemish ports on the Scheldt. The Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation consists of a professional organisation (for the pilots) and a company organisation (for service and support).
The professional arm of the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation comprises the Dutch Pilots Corporation and four regional corporations: Regional Maritime Pilots’ Corporation for North, Amsterdam-IJmond, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, and Scheldt. In addition, there is a foundation that provides training for pilots and promotes the expertise and quality of the profession in general (STODEL). Together, these organisations fulfil the mandate set by law with regard to the quality of the professional practice, the professional competence of the pilot, the powers, service provision, and the training of pilots.
The company organisation comprises the Dutch Pilotages Services, Loodswezen Materieel B.V., three silent partnerships (Amsterdam-IJmond Maritime Pilots Association, Rotterdam-Rijnmond/North Maritime Pilots Association and Scheldt Maritime Pilots Association) and the Maritime Pilots' Institute Netherlands B.V.. The Dutch Pilotages Services provide services in the area of fleet management, maintenance, logistics, planning and administration in the boarding of pilots and pilotage of seagoing vessels and is charged with the collection of pilotage dues. Loodswezen Materieel B.V. is the legal owner of the fleet. The maritime pilot associations are the associations representing the registered pilots. The registered pilots are responsible for piloting seagoing vessels. Activities that are not directly aimed at the boarding of pilots and pilotage of vessels are conducted through the Maritime Pilots’ Institute Netherlands B.V.. This knowledge centre concentrates on activities like offering nautical expertise to the maritime sector at home and abroad.
The figure below gives an idea of the organisation of the Dutch Maritime Pilots’ Organisation (not including the silent partnerships and STODEL).
Chair of the Dutch Maritime Pilots Corporation: Mr J. B. Mulder. Appointed on 1 May 2016, reappointed on 1 May 2020, steps down on 1 May 2024
Chair of North Regional Maritime Pilots Corporation: Mr B. Oldenbeuving. Appointed on 1 August 2014, reappointed on 1 August 2018, steps down on 1 August 2022
Chair of Amsterdam-IJmond Regional Maritime Pilots Corporation: Mr J. Y. van der Laan. Appointed on 1 March 2014, reappointed on 1 March 2018, steps down on 1 januari 2022; Mr R. de Jonge, appointed on 1 January 2022, steps down on 1 January 2026
Chair of Rotterdam-Rijnmond Regional Maritime Pilots Corporation: Mr T. S. de Groot. Appointed on 1 July 2017, reappointed on 1 July 2021, steps down on 1 July 2023
Chair of Scheldt Regional Maritime Pilots Corporation: Mr G. B. P. Jaburg. Appointed on 1 May 2018, steps down on 1 May 2022
NLBV Board of directors and management team
Board of Directors
Managing Director: Mr J. W. Bentinck
Financial Director: Mr W. N. Dorst
HR Manager: Ms N. van der Drift
Fleet Manager: Mr T. de Vos
Information Manager: Mr N. J. Donselaar
Crewing Manager: Mr A. C. J. Duivestein
Mr M. J. M. Borsboom – steps down on 1 July 2023, Chair
Mr R. E. A. De Meyer – steps down on 1 July 2022
Ms J. H. P. M. van der Wijst – steps down on 1 July 2024