Foreign Ports Urged to Share Information on Cargo-Related Crime with Companies
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued recently a bulletin to publicize a supply chain security best practice that has been implemented at the port of Antwerp, Belgium, the second-largest seaport in Europe. CBP is encouraging other ports to implement similar programs.
According to the bulletin, businesses operating at the port of Antwerp are now able to participate in a program that facilitates the exchange of information about cargo-related crime between companies and authorities. The system, known as the Neighborhood Information Network (BIN), allows companies to submit anonymous tips about suspicious activity in the port area that the police then disseminate to other companies participating in the program. Approximately 650 companies were asked to join the program and 451 are now participating.
CBP states that this program was created in response to a number of recent incidents at the port that exposed security gaps and indicated an increase in criminal activity. These incidents include thieves hacking into computers at the port, allowing them to track and redirect drug-laden containers arriving at the port; smugglers hijacking cargo trucks leaving the port to extract shipments of drugs concealed in the vehicles; and smugglers stealing the identifying information of legitimate companies operating at the port in order to arrange for the import of drug-laden shipments under their name. The bulletin indicates that the use of these tactics is motivated by relatively strict physical security controls at this port and that the enhanced security at larger ports like Antwerp. Rotterdam and Zeebrugge is also likely responsible for an increase in cargo-related criminal activity at smaller ports.