IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

European Ports Alliance

25th January, 2024 International Relations

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  • The EU inaugurates the "European Ports Alliance" to harmonize anti-drug smuggling methods.
  • Launch event held at Belgium’s Antwerp port, a major gateway for cocaine into Europe.

Attendees and Objectives:

  • Attended by EU interior ministers and representatives from 16 bloc ports and sea transport organizations.
  • Aims to combat criminal groups infiltrating European ports and smuggling activities.

Security Challenges in Major Ports:

  • Europe's major ports, including Antwerp, face violence from local mafias involved in illegal drug trade.
  • Criminal groups resort to tactics like bribery and coercion of port officials, workers, and law enforcement.

Rise in Cocaine Seizures:

  • Antwerp, a significant port, witnesses a surge in annual cocaine seizures, reaching 116 tonnes in 2023.
  • Despite increased seizures, the street price of cocaine is decreasing, indicating a significant presence in the market.

Adaptability of Criminal Groups:

  • Security crackdown in the Dutch port of Rotterdam prompts criminal groups to shift activities to smaller ports.
  • Smugglers quickly adapt, and indications suggest increased drug flows to ports like Helsingborg in Sweden.

Need for Cooperation:

  • Nearly 70% of drug seizures in the European Union occur in bloc ports.
  • Emphasizes the need for enhanced cooperation not only between law enforcement but also with private operators in ports.

Ports Alliance Goals:

  • Aims to improve information sharing, implement successful models, and map drug flows.
  • Focuses on dismantling criminal gangs involved in drug smuggling.

Concerns about Synthetic Drugs:

  • Rising concern about synthetic drugs like ecstasy, amphetamines, and MDMA giving rise to new European crime networks.
  • The French Interior Minister emphasizes the need for a joint strategy to prevent fentanyl-related problems in Europe.

Fentanyl Situation:

  • While fentanyl use is currently low in Europe, concerns exist about its potential increase.
  • Highlighted efforts to dismantle synthetic drug laboratories within the EU.


  • The European Ports Alliance addresses the pressing issue of drug smuggling by fostering collaboration, sharing information, and targeting criminal networks.
  • Acknowledges the evolving nature of criminal activities, necessitating adaptability in security measures.


Q. Antwerp, a port frequently mentioned in recent news, is located in which European country?

A) Netherlands

B) Belgium

C) Germany

D) France

Correct Answer: B) Belgium