UNODC & Oman Open New Air Cargo Control Unit at Muscat International Airport

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Muscat (Oman), 23 December 2020 — Over the last decade, global air cargo has grown exponentially. Despite its status as an expensive method of transportation, air cargo continues to thrive due to an increasing demand for perishable food products and the fast delivery of goods via e-commerce. As the global population grows, and internet penetration reaches new markets, air cargo volumes are expected to continue to climb over the coming years.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is aware that the rise in air cargo entails major risks: the transportation of dangerous illicit goods and transnational organized crime groups penetrating legitimate supply chains. That is why, in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), UNODC established the Container Control Programme (CCP) in 2004 to tackle this threat.

The Programme’s success is evident from the results: it has led to the seizure of a wide range of prohibited goods, from weapons and ammunition, to wildlife and other proceeds from environmental crime. Extending from illegal drugs, falsified or unlicensed medicines, to precursors for drugs and explosives. Even cigarettes, alcohol, stolen vehicles and goods which are counterfeit or otherwise violate intellectual property law.

Oman formally joined CCP in 2016 and is the first Member State of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to benefit from a partnership with this successful Programme.

In 2018, Oman opened a Container Control Unit at the Port of Sohar and with this launch, now expands its risk management activities with an Air Cargo Control Unit at the Muscat International Airport.

The Unit will comprise 12 staff members from the Royal Oman Police, who have undergone extensive training in risk management and manifest-based profiling, delivered by experienced experts from both WCO and UNODC.

Fully equipped with a wide range of modern scanning facilities and examination tools, the Unit will profile high-risk cargo that is imported, exported or transiting the territory of Oman.

As well as promoting a professional network of trained front-line officers, Air Cargo Control Units around the world benefit from sharing a secure messaging and networking platform (AirCargoComm), to quickly exchange data and share intelligence with counterparts worldwide.

Oman’s new ACCU is a welcome addition to the CCP. The Programme in Oman is generously funded by the United States Export Control and Border Security Programme (EXBS).


The mission of CCP is to build the capacity of Member States seeking to strengthen risk management, supply chain security and trade facilitation at airports, seaports and land border crossings.

The Programme assists States in preventing the cross-border movement of illicit goods, while better equipping them to honour their obligations under the mandatory UN Security Council Resolutions.

At present, CCP is operational across 59 countries. To date, 119 Port Control Units (PCUs) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCUs) having been established since the Programme’s launch in 2004.