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About IHMA


National Associations

The Finnish Harbour Masters´ Association is thought to be the oldest national association in Europe and perhaps the world. It was established in 1936, followed by the Dutch in 1949, the Belgian in 1971, the French in 1992, the United Kingdom in 1993, and the German and Polish Associations in 1994. Overseas Harbour Master Associations were subsequently founded in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.


International Associations

European Harbour Masters’ Association (EHMA)

In the early 1950s Harbour Masters from major northwest European ports met on an occasional basis to discuss matters of mutual interest and to get to know each other better. After a break in the early 1970s, biennial congresses of the north European Harbour Masters were held in different ports of northwest Europe. Eventually the European Harbour Masters’ Association (EHMA) was created as a non-funded association on the 30th of May 1985, during a Harbour Masters’ congress in Cork, Ireland. A biennial congress and working groups, which dealt with matters of importance to Harbour Masters, were at the heart of the Association. In due course, the Association was recognised as a highly professional and reliable association within the shipping and port community, with its advice sought on many occasions. Close co-operation with other organisations, such as IAPH, IMPA, and IALA followed.

In 1992, during a Congress in Bristol, it was evident that the association had to alter its status from being a non-funded to a funded organisation. A working group was established to examine the possibilities and it soon became apparent that an association that included harbour masters world-wide could bring advantages, both in terms of meeting the Association’s objectives and providing a more assured financial footing. The European association became a funded organisation and steps were taken to assess the possibility of expansion into an international organisation.

During the 5th EHMA Congress at Marseilles in 1994 the EHMA constitution was changed accordingly and an International Harbour Masters’ Association Founding Group was introduced.  The Executive Committee of the EHMA took on the challenge of developing a proposal and constitution that would be accepted by European and Overseas harbour masters.  This was achieved on the 21st of June 1996, when all members of the European Harbour Masters’ Association attending the 6th EHMA Congress in Reykjavik voted unanimously to establish an International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA), whilst retaining the European association as an integral part of it. 

In 2006, the EHMA ceased to be a separate entity with its own management team and became the European Harbour Masters’ Committee, a regional grouping within the IHMA.



IHMA Aims & Objectives

The aim of IHMA is to unite those responsible for the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters into one professional body to further the objectives of IHMA.

Consistent with its aim, IHMA's Objectives include:

Promote the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters;
Develop and foster collaboration and good relations among harbour masters world-wide;
Represent the professional views of harbour masters internationally, regionally and nationally;
Promote the professional standing and
Collect, collate and supply information of professional interest to the membership

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How do we achieve our objectives?

  • The Association strives to bring together all those who hold a managerial position in aspects of  the control of Marine Operations within a port or its approaches, whatever their job title.

  • The Association seeks to develop and foster good relations between its members world-wide through its regular communications and meetings for members, and by representing the professional views of its members.

  • The Association has developed professional contacts with sister organisations within the Marine/Port Industry. We have Memoranda of Understanding with the International Maritime Pilots' Association (IMPA), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), The Nautical Institute (NI) and the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC).

  • The Association has non-governmental, consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and sends representatives to meetings which impact on the work of the Harbour Master.

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IHMA Executive Committee & Council

Executive Committee


Working groups and projects

IHMA establishes projects and working groups to address specific subject areas with terms of reference approved by ExCo. The EHMC participates in EU sponsored research projects.

Project Officers

Role of Harbour Master/ Port Operations Professional
Port Call Optimisation
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Vessel Traffic Services
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Emergency Management

Become a Member

Join the world’s premier professional body for harbour masters and receive up-to-date information on the industry and access to the members' area of the website.

Become a sponsor

Become a sponsor of the IHMA today and reap the benefits for your business:

  • Worldwide exposure
  • Prominence on the IHMA website
  • Instant access to your services and products for your existing and potential customers
  • Access to the key decision makers on marine operations in Ports – the Harbour Master
  • The opportunity to showcase your services and products at an international congress every two years

Be a part of the future of a vibrant, respected, professional and influential maritime organisation...IHMA

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Latest Events

Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
IHMA Congress 2022
IHMA Congress 2022


Delivered virtually
Online Workshop Sponsored by:  PIANC and Navigating a Changing Climate 14 and 15 September 2021

Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient
Ports and Waterways

Online Workshop Sponsored by:
PIANC and Navigating a Changing Climate

14 and 15 September 2021

PIANC’s Environment Commission (EnviCom) and the Navigating a Changing Climate partners are collaborating to run a workshop entitled Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways.  This workshop builds on a 2021 workshop run by Navigating a Changing Climate with SedNet ( focused on sediment management and climate change.  

Two sessions are planned on consecutive days, each 2 hours long, allowing for keynote presentations, case studies, and facilitated round-table discussions. 

The workshop Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange, disseminate good practice, highlight opportunities, and identify gaps in understanding or research needs in relation to the following sessions: 

  1. Session 1: 14th September.  Scaling Up and Changing Entrenched Current Practices
    • Transitioning nature-based solutions to full-scale
    • Persuading those who prefer business as usual to explore nature-based alternatives
  2. Session 2: 15th September.  Making a Business Case and Securing Finance
    • Preparing the case for investment in nature-based solutions
    • Facilitating public and private sector funding for nature-based solutions

For more information and to register, please reach out to Victor Magar ( and copy to Kate Panayotou ( and

The email title line should be marked with “PIANC‑NavClimate Working with Nature Workshop.” 

PIANC, the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, provides the global waterborne transport community with expert guidance, recommendations, and technical advice (  Navigating a Changing Climate is a PIANC-led Global Climate Action initiative under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Find out more at

Delivered virtually
Women in Shipping Virtual Summit 2021

IHMA is pleased to once again be partnering with the Women in Shipping Virtual Summit in 2021. The following information is provided by the event organisers.

Two-days of unmissable insights on the professional development of Women in Maritime

Women in Shipping Summit will go live this September offering you the chance to hear and learn from 30+ inspiring leaders on the topics that matter to you the most.

The full agenda is ready, and we're delighted to provide you with 15+ hours of content accessible from anywhere in the world and live streamed direct from the virtual platform. Speaking companies include Danish Shipowners’ Association, The Rising Tides, Fichte & Co., Svitzer, Siemens, Wista and lots more.

This is your only chance this year to join the community and develop your career as a maritime professional. Join us on the road map to recovery, as we approach a post-pandemic world.
Key sessions you can't afford to miss include:

Public health policies:
Considering seafarers as an extreme case study, this emphasises the need to find real solutions to protect mental and physical wellbeing to ensure the work-life balance is stable and maintained.

The future of work:
2020 created the perfect test environment, leading all of us to ask what the future holds. What about childcare and paternal leave, and what are companies likely to adopt as working routines beyond 2021?

The key to a balanced lifestyle:
Gain mental health tools and understand the correct way to apply them. This is vital for cultivating mental strength in the face of adversity.

Power talk:
Redundancies, organisations going out of business, role restructures and questions on the sustainability of our professions. As such, many of us have found ourselves asking is it time to make a change, and if so, where to start?

Nutrition & mental health:
Even though one of modern life's well-established truths is that nutrition is closely linked to mental and physical health, it's also something that is often neglected or ignored. Join us as we take a step back into nutrition school.

Want to book?
Secure your pass today for two days of live and on-demand sessions, plus the chance to see the full attendee list with unlimited networking opportunities.
Use the exclusive 20% discount code FKT3826IHMA for IHMA members to benefit from the maximum saving in addition to the early bird rate - find out more and book now.

The super early bird rate closes Wednesday 30 June 2021.


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Download the IHMA Constitution

The IHMA constitution sets out the establishment of a region of the IHMA, the committee role and authority, its formation and management.

Latest News & Events

ION receives grant to support UK net zero target through port decarbonization ION receives grant to support UK net zero target through port decarbonization

September 16, 2021

HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ION Geophysical Corporation’s Edinburgh-based Software group today announced the Companyreceived a grant to advance port… FIND OUT MORE

Rebeca Grynspan takes over as head of UNCTAD New S-G at UNCTAD

The former vice president of Costa Rica is the first woman and Central American to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general. FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

September 16, 2021

HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ION Geophysical Corporation’s Edinburgh-based Software group today announced the Companyreceived a grant to advance port decarbonization through its climate-smart platform, MarlinSmartPort™. The grant supports the UK’s Ten Point Plan to address climate change and help achieve the country’s net-zero emissions target by 2050. The Data-Led Emissions Management (D-LEMA) project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.
The 6-month pilot study will validate whether vessel fuel usage and carbon dioxide emissions can be reliably estimated in and around ports using the International Maritime Organization (IMO) global standard.

Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is a £20 million investment from government alongside a further ~£10 million from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The program is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the South West to the North East of England. As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), Government funding has been used to support early stage research relating to clean maritime. The program will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonization in the sector.

“Today approximately 90% of goods are transported by sea and global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of global CO 2 emissions,” said Stuart Darling, Senior Vice President of ION’s Software group. “Our technology is focused on creating high value information that drives smarter, safer management of the 5,000+ ports globally and the 50,000+ cargo vessels that transit between them. This grant enables us to continue advancing our maritime digitalization platform, Marlin SmartPort, which integrates systems and data to provide better real-time visibility and actionable intelligence to operate with just-in-time efficiency, minimizing fuel consumption and emissions. Our goal is to develop and validate fuel monitoring capabilities to start tracking
and, ultimately, to reduce port-related shipping emissions. On behalf of ION, I would like to thank our project partners, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, who will supply the data, and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, who will assist with the analysis.”

The former vice president of Costa Rica is the first woman and Central American to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general.

This was announced from UNCTAD HQ in Geneva on 13 September and we at IHMA send our congratulations.

Costa Rican economist Rebeca Grynspan took up her new role as secretary-general of UNCTAD on 13 September for a four-year term.

Ms Grynspan, the first woman to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general, was nominated for the post by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and approved by the General Assembly in June.

I am honoured to begin work at UNCTAD at a critical time for our world,’ Ms Grynspan said, ‘Covid-19 has exposed the widespread inequalities and vulnerabilities of the world and the development model. As we recover from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to rebalance the global economy, boost resilience and ensure shared prosperity.’

We must take action today to transform trade and reshape our global economy to overcome barriers to greater prosperity for all and embark on a sustainable development path that will benefit everyone.’