Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Flood of Illegal Drugs Prompts Complete Ban for Three Countries Goods

Port Group and Special Economic Zone Act After Discoveries
Shipping News Feature

INDIA – It seems the recent seizure of almost three tonnes of heroin at the Port of Mundra was the last straw for the country's largest port operator Adani. From 15 November the company is banning all traffic emanating from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, a policy which has brought howls of protest.

With billions of dollars of Afghan funds tied up by US legislators it is an acknowledged policy of the latest Taliban administration to profit from heroin sales, and the two containers seized at the Mundra International Container Terminal (MICT) in a joint operation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs contained narcotics with an estimated value of $2.65 million.

The find follows a seizure of drugs worth in excess of a further $20 million in a raid which saw six Iranian nationals arrested following the boarding of their vessel off the coast of Gujarat just last month. Now, in a joint ‘trade advisory’ statement Adani Ports and the largest Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in the country at Mundra have opted to completely step back from trade from the three major drug producing countries.

Apparently another factor was the influence of social media where the company came under criticism from sources accusing it of complicity in the transfer of the illegal substances, something Adani Ports strongly denies, pointing out that, like any other logistics service, it does not have the right to examine and seize unlawful cargo.

The ban is likely to put a serious dent in the criminals supply chain as it extends to all thirteen ports which trade under the Adani banner. According to Adani, Mundra alone saw 130 million tonnes of cargo pass through last year. Despite requests no further information was forthcoming from the company.

Iranian executives are reported to have said this latest ban was yet another case of unjust sanctions and trade restrictions being imposed against it, whilst the principal cause of an upturn in the illicit shipments was the US decision to abandon Afghanistan.