Harwich Haven Authority oversees one of the UK’s most important gateways for European and global trade.

More than 40% of the country’s container trade passes through Harwich Haven, carried on some of the world’s largest container ships – but they are just one element of what goes on in the Haven. The arrival and departure of these huge vessels must be coordinated and balanced along with that of cruise ships, roll-on/roll-off ferries and other bulk and general cargo ships calling at any of the Haven Ports, as well as a very substantial number of sailing and leisure craft.

The scale, size and speed of the port and shipping activities taking place in the harbour is breathtaking – and its success is entirely dependent on the efficient, safe operational control provided by the Authority as a neutral, independent organisation.

As a statutory harbour authority, we are responsible for ensuring and promoting safe, efficient navigation within a 150 square mile area which encompasses river, estuary and seaward approaches and includes 42 miles of deepwater channels.

The Authority designates areas, routes or channels which vessels must or must not use; plans, coordinates and directs the safe movement of vessels; and takes any action needed for the maintenance, operation, improvement or conservancy of the Haven.

We operate integrated Pilotage and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), and coordinates about 15,000 commercial vessel movements per year to and from the Haven Ports.