25-27 March 2019, Durres, Albania: The Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Port of Durres in Albania received a study visit from the Customs Administration of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The delegation consisted of eight officers, including members of the PCUs, led by the Director of the Law Enforcement Department of Afghanistan Customs. The purpose of the visit was for the Afghan officials to become acquainted with the implementation of the Container Control Programme (CCP) at the Port of Durres and to share experiences and challenges faced by the PCUs in both countries in their day-to-day work.
The visit began with meetings with the Deputy Heads of Durres Customs and Border Police, who welcomed and introduced the delegation with briefings on the Durres Customs and the Border Police roles, structures, goals and handling capacities. The officials highlighted the excellent cooperation between customs and police in interdicting illegal goods at the Port of Durres.
The Head of the PCU at the Port of Durres provided a thorough overview of the unit's work and inter-agency, regional and international cooperation. The delegation visited the container and ferry terminals, closely observing an example of container examination during which techniques introduced by the CCP were demonstrated.
Furthermore, the delegation visited Tirana and was received by the Director of the Anti-Trafficking Department of Customs and Head of the Monitoring Center. During these meetings, the high demand for relevant and timely risk information to help Customs' achieve their objectives was emphasized.
The Chief of the National Anti-Narcotics Service at the State Police headquarters briefed the delegation on Albania's efforts to combat illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics with focus primarily on heroin trafficking due to the country's position on the "Balkan Route" for heroin originating from Afghanistan.
This visit contributed to enhancing and stimulating working relationships, exchange of information and cooperation between PCUs participating in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.