International cooperation on container control: study tours for Central Asian Customs

Two study visits were organized for Customs officers of beneficiary countries in the framework of "UNODC - WCO Global Container Control Programme" (CCP). Thus, UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia and Regional Office for South-East Asia and Pacific jointly organized a study visit to Thailand and Laos P.D.R. for representatives of State Customs Committees of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan in May 2017.

Delegations of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan visited the Investigation and Suppression Division, Customs Control Room of Thai Customs, Regional Office for Capacity Building of the WCO, Customs Bureau of Laem Chabang seaport and its observation tower, radiation detection area as well as container and rail scanner. In addition, the delegations have visited the CCP Port Control Unit (PCU) operating at Laem Chabang seaport. They were provided with the general background information and specific operations of the PCU, including seizure cases.

Visiting the Laos P.D.R., delegations were introduced to Laos Customs Department administrative structure, customs checkpoints, capacity building, strategic development plan, national single window system as well as reform and modernization. Mr. Sompasong Ampheangphai, Deputy Director of Clearance and Formalities Division mentioned that almost all border checkpoints equipped with vehicle and passenger control and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking systems. In addition, the delegations visited the Laos-Thai "Friendship Bridge-1" and Thanaleng Customs Checkpoint and observed the existing procedures and methods of customs control.

Jointly with the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency (NCA) a study tour was organized to the United Kingdom for the members of Port Control Unit of the Turkmenbashi seaport and Ashgabat dry port, officers of the State Customs Service and the Office of the President of Turkmenistan. 

Turkmen Customs officers were focused on the control techniques to combat trafficking of drugs, people, alcohol and tobacco at the Port of Dover and the Port of Felixstowe. The participants were introduced to the United Kingdom's Joint Border Investigation Units' structure, methodologies, and intelligence techniques related to containers control. Special attention was paid to tracking the seizures' statistics, risks indicators, customs documents, and day-to-day engagement of risks analysis, profiling of high-risk containers, obtaining pre arrival notification, and information exchange.  It was an excellent opportunity for the NCA and Turkmen State Customs Service officials to share experiences and best practices discuss international cooperation in countering illicit goods and other criminal activities.

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