DISCOVER Magazine #7

Kotug International, Dutch towage specialists

Published in category: People

The Netherlands is notable in having a considerable number of family-owned businesses. This is true of many sectors, but particularly so in the maritime industries. Like Damen, a number of these companies have been active for a considerable amount of time. Over the years, Damen has had the pleasure of supplying vessels and solutions to many of them. Here we speak to a number of Damen clients from across a range of different sectors.

The towage business is inextricably linked to maritime trade. Why? Because large ships arriving at a harbour will always need the assistance of a capable tug and its crew. It should be of no surprise, therefore, that the Netherlands – with international trade contributing such a vital role throughout its history – should also be home to some major players in the towage industry.

Headquartered in Rotterdam, Kotug is one such towage company. “We are, in fact, a fifth generation shipping company and fourth generation towage company,” says Kotug CEO Ard-Jan Kooren. “Yes, we have Dutch roots, but now we feel like a truly global company.”

Looking at where Kotug’s vessels are currently operating – throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Caribbean – illustrates this global focus.

Hybrid first

Kotug’s activities can be divided into five distinct markets of vessel assistance. These are harbour towage, terminal towage, offshore operations and chartering. The fifth area involves its Maritime Excellence Centre. “This is a knowledge centre,” explains Mr Kooren. “It is where we put our experience into practice to help clients with safer and more efficient operations. With training programmes and building supervision, for instance. And with support for port layouts and special transports. It also looks into new innovations and green solutions like hybrid technology.” Indeed, Kotug’s RT Adriaan was Europe’s first Class-built hybrid tug.

Continued cooperation

When asked to describe Kotug’s links to Damen, Mr Kooren points to the fact that the two companies are both well-established Dutch family-owned maritime firms: “While we both have Dutch roots, we have both stretched our international wings.

“And, in terms of vessel construction, Damen is our leading partner,” he says, referring to the noteworthy number of Damen vessels in the Kotug fleet, which still continues to grow. “For example, we are currently building three vessels at Damen’s yard in Sharjah. And our Maritime Excellence Centre is also looking at future CNG and LNG solutions with them too.”

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