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Our founding father Fop Smit

In 1842 and at the tender age of 65, Fop Smit began providing vessels with a safe and reliable passage into the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Having commenced operations with the 140 hp paddle steamer 'Kinderdijk', the SMIT fleet has grown and developed since then in line with technical advancements and customer's demands.

Upon Fop Smit's death in 1866, his company operated a fleet of six tugs totaling 500 hp. Fop's sons, Jan and Leendert, continued to expand the fleet and in 1870 they began building tugs with propellers.

Offering new services

Partly due to these advancements, the company L. Smit & Co. continued to offer new services to their clients. This fact was exemplified in 1892 when the company built an oceangoing tug of 750 hp, which made the first of many successful voyages by towing a dredger from Rotterdam to Cadiz, Spain.

Expand operations

L. Smit & Co. continued to expand its fleet, however heavy competition between 1900 and 1920 with another tug operator in Rotterdam, the Internationale Sleepdienst, opened the door for a new chapter in the history of the company. In 1923, both tug operators decided to merge operations under the name 'L. Smit & Co.'s Internationale Sleepdienst'. The combined strength of this new entity enabled the company to expand operations to all four corners of the globe.

The SMIT fleet has grown and developed in line with technical advancements and customer's demands

Salvage market

In addition to the company's core towage business, it became increasingly evident that SMIT's maritime knowledge could be utilised in the growing salvage market. A noteworthy example of SMIT's success in this market came in 1957 with SMIT's involvement in the removal of 41 wrecks in the Suez Channel. SMIT is proud to have been involved in many subsequent salvage cases and wreck removals, and continues to offer assistance to vessels in need.

Having gained operational experience for 170 years, SMIT has evolved into an internationally operating company, offering a wide range of customer focused maritime services.  We provide our services in the main to shipping companies, producers in the oil and LNG industries, insurers and governments.


In May 2010, SMIT became a member of Royal Boskalis Westminster. Together SMIT and Boskalis focus on servicing clients in the Ports and Energy market optimizing and reinforcing our combined knowledge, strength and expertise.