Press Release

Customs intercepts 116 tonnes of cocaine in Antwerp port

Belgian customs seized another record amount of cocaine in the port of Antwerp in 2023, with 116 tonnes. 5 tonnes of cocaine were also seized at the port of Zeebrugge, part of Port of Antwerp-Bruges. This was announced today by Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem at the port of Flushing in the Netherlands, together with his Dutch colleague State Secretary Aukje De Vries. In Flushing, the close cooperation between the two countries in the fight against international drug trafficking was once again emphasized and perpetuated.

"The fight against international drug trafficking requires a lot of expertise and energy from our customs. I can only emphasize my great thanks and pride for that. Especially since this fight is just one of the many components of customs' remit. Thousands of employees, spread all over the country, gave their best in once again extraordinary circumstances last year. And while this may officially be the last presentation of annual figures of this legislature, it remains my goal to continue on the path we have taken. We have increased investment in people and resources in recent years for the first time in a long time and we will continue to do so. It remains my conviction to support and strengthen customs and customs officers."
Vincent Van Peteghem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, in charge of the Coordination of the Fight against Fraud and in charge of the National Lottery

The annual figure of 116 tonnes is again an increase compared to the previous year (110 tonnes) and no less than 50 tonnes more than when Minister Van Peteghem was first privileged to present the annual figures in 2020 as Minister responsible for Belgian customs. It shows the success of this federal government's many investments in people and resources for customs, but above all the expertise and decisiveness of our customs officers on the ground.

Colombia, Ecuador and Panama have been well-known names in the top origin countries for many years, and last year was no different. Countries of origin which, by the way, also dominate the lists in the Dutch seaports, demonstrating more than ever that our strong cross-border cooperation should and will continue in the years to come.