Thailand became the first country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to formally join the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.
The Global Container Control Programme is a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Launched in 2004 in response to the organised crime and human security threats posed by the maritime movement of illicit goods in sea containers, the Programme operates through the establishment of specialised Port Control Units (PCUs) securing the global supply chain.
Over 500 million sea containers transfer 90% of world cargo across the globe every year with over half of these containers originating from, in transit through or destined for the countries of Southeast Asia. Traffickers exploit the sheer volume of this trade to conceal and transport illicit goods in the hope they will evade detection.
Paisal Chuenjit, Deputy Director General of the Thai Customs Department, said: “The cooperation between the Thai Customs Department and the UNODC will considerably improve the control of the containerised trade supply chain by enhancing detection of illicit activities and seizure of illegal goods.”
In the first 10 years of operation PCUs established by the Programme have seized over 95 metric tonnes of cocaine, 2.9 metric tonnes of heroin, 60 metric tonnes of cannabis and 1,200 metric tonnes of precursor chemicals used to manufacture both illicit drugs and explosives.
Within 2015 the Global Container Control Programme will be operating in 52 countries of the world. The 5 ASEAN countries of Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are next slated to join the Programme through the financial contribution of the Government of Canada (Global Partnership Program) and the United States of America (Export Control and Related Border Security Programme).