Promoting practical cooperation among Caspian Sea Ports under UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia conducted a series of activities involving Customs officers and other competent authorities of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan under the UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme (CCP) in order to strengthen the regional and interagency practical cooperation in suppressing and identifying high-risk consignments.   

On 20-24 June, joint practical exercises for the delegations from the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Morport/Kuryk seaport and the Border Service of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, members of PCUs in Alyat seaport, Astara Customs post and Baku Central Customs Administration were organized in international seaports of Kuryk (Kazakhstan) and Alyat (Azerbaijan). The exercises were focused on the work of freight and passenger ferry communication and availed twenty frontline officers from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to improve their knowledge and skills in minimizing the risk of maritime containers/cargoes being exploited for trafficking of various illicit goods including drugs, precursor chemicals, firearms, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear materials, and other forms of organized crime activity.   


Mr. Batyr Geldiyev, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator emphasized that it was the first ferry exercise of this type in the region and expressed confidence that joint CCP - Azerbaijan/ Kazakhstan Customs cooperation would yield in concrete results and seizures of illicit goods made by the PCUs in the Caspian seaports.      

Azerbaijani and Kazakh Customs and Border Guards' officials familiarized themselves with the seaports’ infrastructure, the border inspection and import/export/ transit control procedures in Alyat and Kuryk international seaports. The participants had the unique opportunity to board and travel for two days with the ferry and to mingle with the crew and other itinerants. A study tour was conducted in the cargo area, engine area, and passenger’s living quarters of the vessel itself where the officers could identify a possible concealment spot used for smuggling and check existing weak points in the control procedures.

Previously, on May 17-19, CCP had organized an exchange visit for the officers from the State Customs Service from Kyrgyzstan, including CCP national focal points  and  PCUs members in Bishkek, Osh and Batken to Azerbaijan to get aсquainted with CCP PCU operations in Baku Central Customs, Astara Customs and Alyat seaport.  Customs officers from Azerbaijan shared their experience in exercising cargo/container controls and mitigating smuggling risks at the priority dry and seaports in the country.  PCUs of Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan utilized the opportunity and held productive consultations on further strengthening regional Customs-to-Customs cooperation, including information exchange on high-risk consignments.   

The CCP Regional Segment for Central Asia is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme.