The ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp serve as two of the world's largest gateways for the distribution of goods to the rest of Europe. Along with these goods, however, large quantities of drugs also reach the ports, and these quantities seem to be increasing. The reason for this increase is unclear. What is certain is that it is a major problem at both ports. Lieselot Bisschop, Professor of Public and Private Interests at Erasmus School of Law, confirms this problem and gives tips on combating it in an article of Swedish broadcaster SVT and Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Lieselot Bisschop has been investigating drug smuggling in the port of Rotterdam for several years. Although she says it is difficult to determine whether the growth in the number of seizures is caused by the police and customs that have become more effective or a larger quantity of drugs that is being smuggled into the ports, it is certain that it is a major problem at the port. "It usually happens with help from within. Either an employee of a private or public company helps with the smuggling," said Bishop at SVT.
However, as a result of the investigation by Bisschop and her colleagues, improvements have been made in the fight against drug smuggling. Inspired by the investigation into the approach to drug smuggling in Rotterdam, Bisschop gave tips in Het Laatste Nieuws for the approach in the port of Antwerp. According to Bisschop, it helps to work with integrated teams that focus particularly on seizing drugs to involve port companies in the fight, and to explain to employees how criminals recruit helpers to smuggle the drugs into the port. Finally, she indicates that a possible solution could be to see where Belgium can learn from the administrative approach to organized crime, as has been explored in the Netherlands for some time. "For example, administrative explorations are taking place to see if the harbour master can close a port site or terminal if there is a security risk," says Bisschop.