Port of Rotterdam Tightens Security to Thwart Drug Crime

March 12, 2024

(Photo: Port of Rotterdam Authority)
(Photo: Port of Rotterdam Authority)

Europe's largest seaport is boosting its security efforts in an attempt to prevent illicit drugs from making their way through the port.

As of March 31, 2024, all import containers arriving in the port of Rotterdam from Latin America will only be securely and reliably released via the Secure Chain, a joint initiative by the business community and the authorities to boost the digital resilience of current port logistics processes. The new operational approach creates a closed logistics chain that solely comprises familiar, authorized parties.

In the Secure Chain, companies digitally pass on the authorization to collect a container from the terminal to one another. Only an inland operator that has been authorized through the Secure Chain can gain access to the terminal. The collection of containers using PIN codes, which are susceptible to potential abuse, will come to an end. “The time of widely shared PIN codes via email is over. In the Secure Chain, all the information that is required for the secure and reliable collection of a container is transferred digitally from one link to the next,” a spokesperson for the Secure Chain said.

The Secure Chain makes the Dutch port logistics chains more resilient to unwanted external influences. In order for the Secure Chain to work, action is required from all parties in the logistics chain. This starts with the shipping line/ship agent and continues via the shipper, forwarder and inland operator (truck, train, inland shipping) to the terminal. The Secure Chain entails a new operational approach for all these parties. The Port Authority helped facilitate this cooperation in the interest of a safe and resilient port.

CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping, Maersk, MSC, ONE OOCL and ZIM are the shipping lines/ship agents that serve Rotterdam from Latin America. They are currently in the process of connecting their customers in phases. HMM, Yang Ming and (soon) Evergreen are also already live with the Secure Chain. Following the import containers from Latin America, the shipping lines/ship agents will focus on the phased implementation of the Secure Chain for other incoming deepsea containers.

The Secure Chain largely works via the Port Community System of Portbase, the neutral logistics platform for the Dutch ports. To accommodate the Secure Chain, Portbase has added an extra authorization layer on top of several existing digital services. This makes it possible for different links to securely pass on the authorization to collect a container.

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