Customs seeks to increase drug-screening at Antwerp port from 1 to 100%

Customs seeks to increase drug-screening at Antwerp port from 1 to 100%
Credit: © Belga

Customs authorities in Belgium want to scan every container arriving at the port of Antwerp in an effort to fight against growing flows of cocaine entering the country.

Due to a lack of technological material, only 1% of shipping containers arriving in Europe's second-largest port are currently screened, according to Le Soir.

At that rate, customs officials in Antwerp are seizing approximately a third of all cocaine pouring into Europe through the port, in what is estimated to amount to only 10% of the total amount.

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Customs's chief Kristian Vanderwaere said work needed to be done in order to put technology to use to crack down on the problem without impacting the global flow of merchandise in the port.

"This has a price," he said, adding that further research into the question was needed before he could speak of figures.

Around 100 million tons of cocaine bound for the European market are thought to come in through the port of Antwerp each month, with authorities often intercepting drug shipments.

At the start of the month, federal police announced they were looking into launching a joint operation with their Brazilian counterparts in order to investigate the trafficking organisations between the two countries.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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