There’s been a spectacular increase in the amount of cocaine seized in the northern port city in recent years. Only five years ago seizures amounted to less than 10 tons. Cocaine is not the only drug being shipped through Antwerp. Customs impounded 1.8 tons of heroin, 504 kilos of marihuana and 1.1 tons of other banned substances. Amounts of heroin and marihuana seized last year were lower than the previous year.
The cocaine seized is a small part of the volume of the drug that passes through the port. At present only a small fraction of all containers are checked. Customs hope to increase this share and in time check all containers for drugs using risk analysis, artificial intelligence as well as e-nose equipment that can detect drug odours.