Australian Customs last week seized an alleged stash of methamphetamine worth an estimated $180 million at their border. The illegal drug, reported to weight 183kg in total had been concealed in 27 kayaks sent from China.
The border forces discovered the haul when they X-rayed the container at the Sydney Container Examination Facility.
This kind of drug haul could see the five people that have been charged handed sentences of around 15 years in Jail. In the last year or so over 1000kg of meth in crystal and liquid form has been found entering the country in various ways and as a result the Authorities are clamping down.
The federal government has provided $88 million of additional funding to Customs to increase screening of international mail, air cargo and sea cargo to stop illegal firearms and drugs getting in. Inspection rates of international mail and air cargo is due increase by 25 and 33 per cent respectively and the examination of sea cargo in the major ports of Sydney and Melbourne will increase by nearly 20 per cent.
This kind of action is quite obviously required but comes at a price, not only to the government but also to each and every honest business and individual trying to import goods from China and elsewhere in the world.
In the UK if a container is selected for an X-ray exam the importer must pay for the privilege, currently around £60. Further to the X-ray fee delays to the shipment can not only cost time but if more than a few days the shipping line and port start to charge for extra use of the container and the quay.
Our Australian cousins will already be feeling the pinch that has followed this most recent smuggling attempt. If the UK authorities take a similar stance to importing goods from China and other countries known to have a history of drug traffic then UK businesses and importers may have to brace themselves for increased levels of disruption when shipping goods from overseas by Sea Freight.
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