The European Commission has launched a new public-private partnership to enhance port resilience and intensify actions against drug trafficking and criminal infiltration.
The new European Ports Alliance Public Private Partnership was initiated in close cooperation with the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Member States, port authorities, European associations, and EU Agencies (Europol, EMCDDA) have to focus on detecting weaknesses, exchanging best practices, and developing practical solutions to improve port security.
It will combat intimidation, corruption, and criminal infiltration in ports by implementing international and EU security standards and collaborating with law enforcement and customs, as well as public and private port operators.
The launch will be followed by a joint declaration, stating the commitment of law enforcement, customs and public and private operators working in ports, to address together the threats posed by organised crime.
This aligns with President von der Leyen’s goal to counteract drug smuggling and criminal infiltration in European ports by 2024. This initiative builds upon the EU Roadmap aimed at tackling drug trafficking and organised crime.
The launch of the European Ports Alliance Public Private Partnership comes against a backdrop of criminal networks using extreme violence, corruption and intimidation in their search for profits.
Seizures of cocaine in the EU are reportedly at record levels, with more than 300 tonnes seized on an annual basis in recent years.
In Belgium alone, authorities seized a record 121 metric tonnes of cocaine at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in 2023, a 10 per cent increase from the previous year, according to the Port of Hamburg.