WCO and ABF sign a grant agreement to ensure Supply Chain Integrity worldwide

06 June 2023

Global cargo supply chains are the lifeblood of international trade, allowing vast quantities of goods to travel safely and at scale across transnational borders. But they are also major vectors for global criminal syndicates moving increasingly large amounts of contraband across borders, including into Australia.

To combat this growing scourge, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), and Mr. Michael Outram, Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller-General Customs, signed a grant agreement to implement this new WCO-led Global Supply Chain Integrity Project.

This signature took place in the margins of 24th WCO Asia/Pacific Heads of Customs Administrations Conference held in Perth, Australia from 29 to 31 May 2023. Under this grant agreement, the Government of Australia will support global Customs efforts to protect supply chain integrity and address insider threats.

This multi-year capacity building project aims to raise awareness among the WCO’s 185 Member countries of criminal infiltration and exploitation, and to develop a common approach to how Customs authorities address supply chain risks.

The project, largely funded under the ABF Department’s International Capacity Building Program, will prioritize and target activities to be delivered across the WCO’s Membership and seek active collaboration with the world’s main commercial shipping lines.

Expected to commence late 2023, the project will build on recent operational successes such as the Operation TIN CAN, a WCO, UNODC and ABF partnership activity, which led to the detection of more than 95 tonnes of cocaine, and over 45 arrests worldwide. As a delivery partner to the WCO, the ABF intends to deploy an officer to oversee and help manage the project’s delivery.

ABF Assistant Commissioner Customs, Mr. Tony Smith, highlighted that, for the first time since joining the WCO in 1961, ABF will work directly with the WCO on a large scale through a global project to establish a uniform understanding of the insider threat and develop an integrated approach to countering it.