The Port of Antwerp remains inundated with drugs, particularly cocaine from South America, according to the latest semi-annual figures released by Belgian Customs. In the first half of the

year, authorities intercepted 43.43 tonnes of cocaine, along with significant quantities of heroin and MDMA. Despite efforts to curb drug smuggling, cocaine continues to infiltrate the port, often concealed within cargo shipments of bananas or hidden in refrigeration units.

The recorded amount of cocaine represents a 21% increase compared to the figures from June last year. The global production and consumption of cocaine have been steadily rising, with Colombia and Bolivia experiencing significant growth in production. Most drugs seized in South America and destined for Antwerp originate from Ecuador and Panama. The port authorities are investing in equipment and personnel to combat the issue and are implementing the "100% scanning of high-risk containers" project, which involves deploying additional staff and mobile scanners to enhance security and maintain the smooth operation of the port terminals. Photo by Arminius, Wikimedia commons.