Opening of Port Control Unit in "Farap Avtoyollary" Customs Post on Turkmen-Uzbek border under the UNODC and the WCO Global Container Control Programme

On 1 April the formal opening of Port Control Unit at “Farap Avtoyollary” Customs Post under the UNODC and the WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP) took place in Turkmenistan.

Representatives of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan, “Farap Avtoyullary” PCU members, representatives of the State Customs Committee in Uzbekistan, PCU members of “Alat” Customs post of Bukhara Regional Customs Department of the State Customs Committee in Uzbekistan, CCP donors and international partners participated at the opening ceremony in person and via video conference.

The dedicated Unit is established at Turkmen-Uzbek Border neighboring with the Port Control Unit in "Alat" Customs Post (Uzbekistan) to conduct systematic profiling, selection, and inspection of high-risk consignments to prevent illicit drug trafficking and other forms of black-market activity whilst facilitating the legitimate trade flow.

Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative in Central Asia, welcomed Mr. Dovlet Bayriyev, Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan, Mr. Uktirjon Kodirov, Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan CCP National Focal Points and Customs officers, Port Control Units Members in Farap (Turkmenistan) and Alat (Uzbekistan), CCP donors of Central Asia including from the United States (International narcotics and Law enforcement Affairs Bureau (INL) and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) at the event and thanked for their continued support to the Programme.

In her opening speech Ms. Mittal noted: “UNODC's Strategy in the region defines the framework for assisting member states for ensuring state border security including rules of interaction and cooperation with national ministries, state committees and administrative agencies for the establishment integrated border management regarding international cooperation. We work together to secure supply chains from illicit goods while facilitating legal trade. Since 2015, three Port Control Units have been established in Turkmenistan. We are committed to continue our efforts in strengthening the capacity of international checkpoints and establishing Border Liaison Offices.”

Mr. Dovlet Bayriyev emphasized the effective cooperation with UNODC and WCO CCP on the analyses and information processing mechanism, on improvement of customs activities along the transit corridor among Central Asian countries, expressed commitment to further strengthening cooperation between the State Customs Services of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Mr. Utkirjon Kodirov stressed that it was important to strengthen the drugs counter mechanism due to the growth of  threats and challenges coming from Afghanistan and bordering countries, marked the importance of cooperation with UNODC in an active spirit and supported the mutually-beneficial partnership with the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan.

In the closing remarks, Mr. Batyr Geldiyev, CCP Regional Programme Coordinator (UNODC ROCA) thanked Turkmen party for allocating the premises and nominating dedicated staff for PCU at “Farap Avtoyollary” Customs post and encouraged Turkmen and Uzbek Customs officials to establish direct communication between PCU in “Alat” Customs post and PCU in “Farap Avtoyollary" Customs post in identifying and suppressing high risk consignments.

The new PCU, composing of five trained Customs officers, is equipped with IT and detection tools, as well as connected to WCO ContainerComm secure communication tool.