Germany and Belgium have seized 23 tonnes of cocaine in the biggest-ever haul of the drug in Europe, German customs said Wednesday.
“The enormous amount of cocaine would have brought in several billion euros (dollars) in street sales,” the customs office said in a statement.
German officers had discovered 16 tonnes of cocaine hidden in containers from Paraguay at the port of Hamburg on Feb. 12.
Joint investigations into the stash with Dutch officers led authorities to swoop on another 7.2 tonnes in cocaine at the port of Antwerp in Belgium, German customs said.
A 28-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday in the Netherlands in connection with both the German and Dutch hauls totaling 23 tonnes, it added.
Customs officers at the busy port in Hamburg had decided to take a closer look at the Paraguayan containers after noticing “clear irregularities” with its contents – tin cans that were meant to be filled with putty.
“Beyond a layer of genuine goods packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods,” said customs.
Investigators ordered the containers unloaded, and found the cocaine stash in over 1,700 tin cans.
“This is the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe and one of the largest single seizures worldwide,” German customs said, referring to the Hamburg haul.
In all, 102 tonnes of cocaine headed for the European continent were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement project co-implemented by the United Nations.
Liege Trilogiport is scheduled to open for business in the final half of 2015 (Picture: Liege Ports Authority)
Work is underway on a major multimodal logistics hub project in Belgium. Piloted by the inland port of Liège, it is designed to serve as an “extended gateway” to the seaports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.
The project will attract around €45 million of public funding from the Belgian authorities and the European Union to finance infrastructure requirements, while initial investment from the private sector is estimated at approximately €115 million.
Located on a 120 hectare site on the banks of the Canal Albert, the Trilogiport project is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2015. It is expected to create more than 2,000 direct or indirect jobs.
Described as “a tri-modal (river, rail and road) logistics village,” it will comprise a 15ha container terminal, with 1,850 metres of quayside, operated by Luxembourg-based Euroports and its partner, DP World.
Provision is made too to build a rail freight terminal with 700 metres of track to connect Trilogiport with the national rail network. Construction of a road bridge is also planned to provide access to the motorway system around Liège.
Trilogiport will also incorporate 200,000 sq metres of warehousing and distribution space at full build-out. Source: Porttechnology.com
BILK (Budapest Intermodal Logistics Center) Kombiterminál has become the first Hungarian terminal to join the InlandLinks network, comprising of nearly 40 terminals across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Hungary.
InlandLinks, an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority which was developed two years ago in cooperation with VITO (Dutch Inland Container Terminal Organisation), is an online platform for container terminals in the hinterland, offering intermodal services to and from the Port Rotterdam – Europe’s largest port complex
Rotterdam expects to see container flows triple over next 25 years in line with growth in world trade and the increasing size of container vessels. Of the 30 million TEU anticipated to be handled by the Dutch port in 2035, approximately 2 million are expected to be shipped in and out using smaller vessels from and to European ports. Some 18 million TEU will travel to and from the hinterland via intermodal transport, and the Port of Rotterdam hopes that InlandLinks will help to provide greater insight into better and more sustainable connections for this projected flow of cargo.
BILK, located in a suburb in the southeast of Budapest, consists of a railway station/marshalling yard, a bi-modal terminal for combined traffic, and a 70-hectare logistics centre. The terminal has the capacity to handle an annual traffic of 220,000 TEU. Source: Porttechnology.org
Customs Officers at the Belgian Port of Antwerp seized more than eight tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas originating from Ecuador last week. The cocaine, with a street value of more than US$500 million, were found in a container on Monday in what is the largest drugs haul ever in both Belgium and the Netherlands, and the second largest ever in Europe.
Dutch authorities have made five arrests in connection with the find, with a 46-year old Belgian truck driver and four Dutch citizens currently being questioned by police. Reports also indicate that a 31-year old Customs Officer from Antwerp is suspected to have helped the gang move the drugs out of the Belgian port, where the truck was put under surveillance before being intercepted on the outskirts of Rotterdam.
“The police investigation is now focusing on the final destination for the drugs and the financing,” Dutch News said citing prosecutors. The 20,000 kilos of bananas, which were seized along with the 7,000 packs of cocaine weighing over a kilo each, have been donated to Rotterdam’s Blijdorp Zoo. Source: Porttechnology.com