René de Vries (49) has been appointed (State) Harbour Master of Rotterdam, taking office on 1 March 2010. That is the date on which the current Harbour Master Jaap Lems retires. The port of Rotterdam is not unknown territory for De Vries. He began his career with the Port Authority in 1982, as crew member on one of the patrol vessels. Through the years, he has progressed to his present position, as manager of the Traffic Planning & Operations department, which has 220 staff. The (State) Harbour Master is responsible for the fast, safe and clean handling of shipping traffic in the port of Rotterdam. Under his direction, around 570 people work, among other things, in traffic control centres, the Port Coordination Centre, bridges and locks, on patrol vessels and as inspectors on board visiting ships.  This work is largely done around the clock. On one hand, the (State) Harbour Master forms part of the Port of Rotterdam Authority and, on the other, is accountable to the Municipal Executive and the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management with respect to his public duties. The Harbour Master is also port security officer and forms part of Rotterdam’s security staff.

In careful consultation with the municipality of Rotterdam and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Port Authority started to look for a new (State) Harbour Master this spring. Following an exhaustive internal and external selection procedure, René de Vries was chosen, due to his combination of experience, knowledge and personality.

The current (State) Harbour Master will remain at his post until 1 March 2010. Jaap Lems will then retire. Lems has been Harbour Master of Rotterdam since 1989.  In this period, he has seen the port become considerably busier, safer and cleaner.


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