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More than 350 years of combined history


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A young company with 350 years of experience

In April 2016, KOTUG SMIT TOWAGE was established through the merger of the European harbour towage activities of KOTUG (part of Kotug International) and SMIT (a daughter company of Boskalis) to provide the European markets with tailored towage services.

We are convinced that combining our forces is the way to stay ahead, to be a robust and leading company in European harbour towage. While we are heading for tomorrow, looking for new horizons and broadening our views, we can draw on an incredible 350 years of combined experience and expertise of SMIT Internationale, URS and KOTUG International.


In 1842, Fop Smit began providing vessels with a safe and reliable passage into the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The SMIT fleet has grown and developed with technical advancements and customer's demands. Fop's sons, Jan and Leendert, continued to expand the fleet and in 1870 they began building tugs with propellers.

In 1923, L. Smit & Co. and the Internationale Sleepdienst decided to merge operations under the name 'L. Smit & Co.'s Internationale Sleepdienst'. In March 2007, Smit Internationale NV announced the purchase of Adsteam’s Liverpool towage operation (Alexandra Towing). In May 2010, SMIT became a member of Royal Boskalis Westminster.



Captain Henri Gerling established his company "Remorquage à Hélice s.a."(i.e. Tugboats with Propellers Ltd or S.A.R.H for short) on the river Scheldt in 1870. URS came into being in 1928 as the name given to the alliance between S.A.R.H and "Letzer Towage Cy" which had been established in 1923. In 1974, they were all merged into the URS Group, to provide a strong unified organization going forward. Throughout its long history, URS has maintained its position as the leading operator on the Scheldt by taking over other companies in the Scheldt area, including "Willem Muller" and "Scheldt Towage Company". In 2008 Smit Internationale required 100% shares in URS.


The roots of KOTUG (four generations family Kooren) go back to the initial activities of Antonie Kooren, when he built his first tug in 1911. His son, Adriaan Kooren, registered its company ‘Towage Company Adriaan Kooren BV’ in 1934. In the beginning he operated as an independent towage broker and later as an tug owner, whereby the tugs were employed in the dredging and (port) construction industry in Rotterdam. In 1977, Adriaans’ son Ton Kooren started ‘Ton Kooren International Marine Services BV’, mainly providing worldwide and deep sea towage. In 1987 Ton Kooren established KOTUG International B.V. and started harbour towage activities in Rotterdam, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, London and Wilhelmshaven.




We stand for high quality towage services with a strong focus on tailored services. Our smart and flexible operation allows us to meet the increasing demands of our customers in order to supply them with an even higher level of efficiency and port call optimization. Our tailored services will be provided against the highest operational and safety standards within the industry.

We have the right knowledge, the best materials and – above all – the best people. A team that we can rely on. We will get the job done safely. It doesn’t matter how big the challenge is, we are ready for it. No sea too high, no challenge too great. We will do it together!

We look forward to exceed our customers' expectations and accept the challenge!



Our goal is to become the leading European harbour towage company, which is durable, sustainable and ready for growth. We will achieve this by truly understanding the needs and concerns of our customers and focusing our activities on tailored towage services. Our organizational principles are based on this vision:

  • Local for what is required and central for what adds value
  • Ownership as low as reasonably possible
  • Adaptable & scalable organization
  • Flexible fleet & organization
  • Efficient & Lean organization
  • Continuous performance improvement and new developments based on data analysis


People make the difference

We highly value the contribution of our people. Especially in challenging times we get to appreciate people’s abilities and expertise even more. We believe that well skilled, passionate colleagues will further strengthen our tailored towage services. Our values aim to reflect our promise ‘we are leading in safe harbour towage’. Our values underpin our skills, behaviours and way of doing business

Our values are:

  • We are customer-focused
  • We have an open-mind and flexible attitude
  • We value respectful, collaborative, flexible and passionate behaviour
  • We create a great working atmosphere in which our expertise and professionalism can excel


We are committed to achieving the highest possible standards of safe and reliable operation within the maritime industry. We are always looking to improve upon our HSE-standards and Quality-performance, to ensure that we can exceed our customers’ expectations.

The responsibility and concern for HSE-Q apply to everyone working with or for us. This entails that all employees during the execution of their activities are required to demonstrably aim for this responsibility and concern. This responsibility and concerns constitute an inseparable and integral part of our daily activities.


Our HSE-Q goals

  • Health: Eliminate health risks in the workplace, maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all persons
  • Environment: No incidents causing environmental damage; minimize operational environmental impact.
  • Safety: 100% Care: Active prevention; no injuries, no accidents
  • Quality: Exceed customers' expectations

Health, Safety and Environment

As we care about our people, service and surroundings it is our responsibility to have aspects of health, safety and environment high on the agenda. We provide the means to our employees so that they can perform their job in a responsible and proper manner.

Quality standards integrated

As KOTUG SMIT TOWAGE delivers sustainable towing service which is leading in the market it was required to embed the quality standards into our management system, manuals and day to day practices. With having this embedded into our culture we can deliver a high level quality service. The applicable aspects of the ISO 9001:2015 standard have been incorporated into the business culture of the company.

Our Integrated Management system systematically describes controls and assures with the aim:

  • To work in accordance with the quality procedures and to meet the contract agreements
  • Safe working methods, in order to prevent accidents, anticipate and reduce risk
  • To meet law and regulations
  • To continuously improve our HSE-Q performance
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As the environment is everybody’s concern, we commit ourselves to the highest standards in environmental protection, e.g. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships - both accidental pollution and that from routine operations.

Nowadays, KOTUG SMIT TOWAGE operates three hybrid Rotortugs. With the delivery of RT Adriaan, RT Emotion and RT Evolution, we have proved that new technology can make a substantial difference with a positive impact of environmental aspects, without compromising on performance and safety.

When our tugs are berthed, they are connected to power from ashore, which helps to reduce harmful emission. So the entire supply for power comes from electricity, which is not generated by burning fossil fuels. Our tugs burn solely very clean Gas Oil (DIN EN 590), which is equivalent to what is suitable for diesel cars. We never use any sorts of duel fuels, therefore our sulphur emission is kept to a minimum and that applies for anytime all the time. It is company’s policy, which is supported by corresponding sailing directions that tugs should proceed with eco speed (7 knots) to and from the job. Our crew receives special training to help them reducing the emission by thoughtful manoeuvring and commanding the tug.