Fundación Valenciaport kicks off €3 million transportation safety project

Fundación Valenciaport initiates METEOR project to improve maritime transport safety

Fundación Valenciaport has begun to work on the METEOR project, an initiative that seeks to increase the safety of maritime transport, specifically of goods transported by container. 

METEOR, which will run from October 2023 to September 2026, has a total budget of nearly €3 million ($3.2 million), and is co-financed by the Horizon Europe programme. 

Container inspections have become a major focus of border inspection agencies, especially in western European countries, where ports handle and distribute most of the container traffic to the most populated areas of Europe. As such, it is the highest risk mode for contraband due to the huge volumes and complex/heterogeneous cargoes. 

READ: TT Club commits to countering drug trafficking efforts

In today’s port logistics, less than 5 per cent of containers are subject to physical inspections due to the large amount of goods handled by European customs. 

The solution proposed by the METEOR project involves detecting these types of illegal substances in an intelligent way, using a vapor-based detection technology that utilises innovative sampling technologies, as well as innovative analytical instrumentation and processing techniques based on Non-Targeted Screening (NTS). 

Among the main features of the tool are its portable, multi-purpose nature to other scenarios; or its affordable, non-intrusive character with a high Detection Rate (DR) and low False Alarm Rate (FAR).

In addition, the illicit substances it will detect include drugs, explosives, and even biological threats, among many others. 

READ: MSC rejects Bloomberg drug trafficking allegations

Regarding the coordination and development of the project, the METEOR consortium is formed by 12 partners representing four countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Ireland. 

At the start of the year, an MSC containership that was part of a fake bomb threat investigation outside the Port of Antwerp was discovered to have smuggled substantial amounts of cocaine.

More recently, Dutch Customs agents in the Netherlands seized the largest haul of cocaine to ever go through the Port of Rotterdam weighing up to 17,600 pounds.

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