UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme enhances capacities of the Port Control Units in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

On 23-27 January 2023, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia (UNODC ROCA) conducted a five-day intensive mentoring programme sessions for the members of the Port Control Units (PCUs) deployed at the Turkmenbashi International Sea Port, the Ashgabat International Customs Terminal, and Farap Avtoyollary Customs Post under the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP).

Mentoring sessions held by  Svetlan Savov, the WCO expert, provided the eighteen participants representing the Head Office of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan and three PCUs in Turkmenistan with an opportunity to strengthen their theoretical and practical skills in the area of profiling, inspecting, and handling the high-risk consignments through applying the advanced Customs control techniques and international practices.

The mentorship sessions are specifically designed to strengthen and safeguard the sustainability and effectiveness of the Programme through adequate delivery of proper knowledge and professional skills to the PCU members.

On 6 - 10 February 2023 the UNODC ROCA organized a basic practical training for 14 representatives from the Customs Committee and the National Information-Analytical Center on Drug Control of Uzbekistan, including National Focal Points (NFPs) from the central-level services, and members of the Ayritom PCU, covering the Customs posts Ayritom, Termez River Port and Termez Cargo Center in Termez, Uzbekistan.

The training led by the WCO trainers Akosita Valamalua and Svetlan Savov aimed at enhancing the PCUs’ practical knowledge and skills on risk analysis through practical sessions on profiling and inspecting high-risk consignments and detecting illicit shipments and improving the expertise in cooperative work and information sharing in a real time under Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (IREN), related to the facilitation of the legitimate trade flows. 

The introduction and ice breaking exercises were followed by the presentation on CCP goals, structure, and current state of play. The role and current successes and accomplishments of CCP in Central Asia and wider region in facilitating regional and PCU-to-PCU cooperation and information exchange were hereby underlined with a focus on practical cooperation framework established through the CCP IREN Network, aimed at preventing and tackling cross-border threats to the international legitimate trade flows. These were followed by open discussion on technical and operational challenges in performing cargo control at the border crossing. The practical exercises were focused on working with cargo documents and physical inspections with the aim of risk analysis and profiling, as well as safety and security standards at the border. The exercises were accompanied by highlighting the best practices in ensuring the compliance with integrated border management models, applicable to the area specifics.  

The PCU members – encouraged by benefits and opportunities provided under the CCP IREN –requested and were provided by WCO trainers with contacts of PCU members in countries of South and South-East Asia and Oceania. Wide opportunities of using the WCO ContainerCOMM secure communication tool had been explained in this regard to PCU members.

The participants were presented with the features of best international practices in technical and regulatory areas related to the facilitation of legitimate cargo flows, including examples from practice and case studies. When profiling the selected cargo documentation, the specific techniques and approaches of applying the existing online open sources to target the cargo for inspection were demonstrated. Specific risk indicators, related to cargo documents, routes, types of goods, and transportation modalities were taken into account during profiling of selected cargo documentation. Based on these, the participants conducted physical inspections of pre-selected inbound cargo at Termez Cargo Center and Termez River Port.

The participants expressed their satisfaction with the training as well as an appreciation to UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme for its strategic approach and the relevance of its interventions in the country and region, which has been accepted as highly beneficial for the countries. 

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.