The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme

The sheer volume of international maritime container traffic, with approximately 500 million containers shipped annually in the trade supply chain, coupled with the sophisticated and often ingenious concealment methods and complex routings adopted by illicit drug traffickers and other smugglers, invariably makes successful interdiction difficult. Seaports are notoriously difficult - and at times dangerous - places to work. Law enforcement structures are often hampered by a lack of resources, inter-agency mistrust, complex port processes and systems, and other factors which are purposefully exploited by criminal organizations. This situation poses a very real and serious threat to the security of the international trade supply chain, which is so important to sustainable development.

In response to this threat, the UNODC and WCO launched the Container Control Programme (CCP) to assist Governments in establishing effective container selections and controls to prevent drug trafficking and other illicit cross-border activities. At the heart of this innovative approach is the creation of inter-agency Port Control Units (PCUs), consisting of risk analysts and physical inspection teams from different law enforcement agencies (e.g., Customs, Police and other law enforcement agencies), who are trained and equipped in the framework of the CCP to work together to systematically target high-risk containers for professional law enforcement scrutiny, using risk analysis and other proactive techniques with minimum disruption to the free flow of legitimate trade.

Adequate accommodation and access to relevant shipping information, as well as management support, are just some of the key motivating factors that typically need to be addressed.

Unlike various other programmes and projects, the CCP benefits from generous donor support which enables the UNODC and WCO to provide continued/long-term training and mentoring support to the PCUs which have been established . A staged approach to the training of the officers concerned, ranging from basic risk profiling skills to advanced levels (focusing, for instance, on strategic goods control), seeks to establish qualified and sustainable structures for developing and processing intelligence for targeting purposes.

Another important aspect is the exchange of information and intelligence among the PCUs established worldwide, using a secure communication system. A reliable network of like-minded law enforcement entities is a prerequisite for success in an environment of globalized trade and globalized crime. Numerous significant seizures of drugs and other prohibited materials demonstrate the importance and efficiency of this multilateral cooperation among the PCUs.

In coordinating the activities of the Container Control Programme, the UNODC and WCO are proud to be able to support the international law enforcement community in the fight against global trafficking in illicit goods, and contribute to the facilitation of legitimate trade.

WCO Programme Coordinator:

Mr. Norbert Steilen, World Customs Organization, Brussels / Belgium

Tel: +32 2 2099353

Email: Norbert.Steilen@wcoomd.org

 

UNODC Programme Coordinator:

Mr. Ketil Ottersen, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna / Austria

Tel: +43 1 260605528

Email: Ketil.Ottersen@unodc.org