Passenger and Cargo Border Team

Implementing Organization
UNODC, World Customs Organization, INTERPOL
Description

The Passenger and Cargo Border Team (PCBT) was established through the merger of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and the UNODC-INTERPOL-WCO Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP). The Programme’s objective is to improve the capacity of Member States and their law enforcement agencies active at air, sea and land borders, usually through the establishment of inter-agency units (such as Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces, JAITFs, Port Control Units, PCUs and/or Air Cargo Control Units, ACCUs), to disrupt illicit flows of containers, cargo and mail, intercept high-risk passengers and identify victims of trafficking, while facilitating legitimate trade and the movement of people. 

Accomplishments to Date

The PCBT has operationalized 179 units across 86 countries within 10 regions since 2004. Just in 2023 alone, the Team conducted 181 on-site training activities to enhance the capacities of law enforcement officers, with 7 specifically focused on drug and precursor trafficking, as well as 106 mentorship sessions and 40 study visits. More specifically on synthetic drugs trafficking, PCBT activities have also encompassed the distribution of essential tools and equipment, such as Raman devices, drug testing kits, TruNARC, and personal protective equipment (PPE), as part of a joint programme with the UNODC Synthetic Drugs Strategy, funded by US/INL and Canada. In addition to the trainings above, participants from several countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama, have received or will receive in the coming months, in-person training sessions at the UNODC Laboratory in Vienna, ensuring a thorough understanding and proficient utilization of the provided resources.  

Project Activities

The PCBT’s standard methodology includes: 

  • Conducting technical needs assessments of selected seaports, airports and land border crossings. 
  • Establishing PCUs, ACCUs and JAITFs, comprising various law enforcement agencies, to identify and inspect high-risk cargo and passengers with minimal disruption to legitimate trade and passenger movement. 
  • Long-term capacity building of authorities populating units supported by the PCBT via the development and delivery of core training, specialized training, mentoring, work-study tours and exchange visits.  
  • Organizing regional and interregional meetings and conferences to build capacity and promote international coordination between units and participating countries. 
  • Enhancing inter-agency cooperation by encouraging and facilitating cooperation and information sharing, for example, through joint inspections between units and other relevant agencies.  
  • Encouraging PCUs, ACCUs and JAITFs to forge partnerships and links with the private sector and national counterparts. 
  • Facilitating and promoting operational communication among law enforcement agencies by providing access to secure communication tools, such as CenCOMM, ContainerComm and AirCargoCOMM, secure web-based communication platforms developed by the WCO, to enable a global network for the safe sharing of sensitive information. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Inter-agency (when relevant) units, tasked with the identification and interception of illicit containers, cargo and mail, as well as the interception of high-risks passengers and identification of potential victims, are operational. 
  • Unit staff apply the acquired technical and cross-cutting knowledge and skills, in particular on the identification and interception of synthetic drugs, in their daily work. 
  • Networks of communication and cooperation built, fostered and strengthened between law enforcement agencies, the private sector and PCCP participating countries at the national, regional and global levels, to exchange and cooperate, in particular, on synthetic drugs. 
National Level Outcomes

The desired outcome is to enhance the capacities of Member States and their law enforcement agencies to effectively intercept and combat illicit trafficking and travel. The PCBT, with its expanding network, is extending its reach into more regions. Prior to conducting activities, PCBT conducts thorough assessments and surveys to determine the specific needs of the units involved. Post-activity, efforts are made to further enhance these activities through comprehensive surveys. Having evolved over time, PCBT currently offers 13 specialized training modules. In 2023, PCBT-trained units seized significant quantities of illicit synthetic drug consignments, including over 1418 kilograms of amphetamine-type stimulants (excluding ecstasy), 249 tonnes of cocaine-type drugs, 135 kilograms of ecstasy-type substances, 8 tonnes of new psychoactive substances, and 732,004 pieces of LSD. PCBT-supported units made 14 seizures of precursor chemicals including 131.7 tonnes of sulfuric acid, 18 tonnes of hydrochloric acid and 65 tonnes of toluene. 

Contact

Bob Van den Berghe Passenger and Cargo Border Team bob [dot] vandenberghe [at] un [dot] org (bob[dot]vandenberghe[at]un[dot]org)

Current State Participants
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Argentina
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Benin
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brazil
Burkina Faso
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Ethiopia
Fiji
Gambia
Georgia
Ghana
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Indonesia
Iraq
Jamaica
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Lebanon
Libya
Madagascar
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Mauritius
Mexico
Moldova
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nepal
Niger
Nigeria
North Macedonia
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Serbia
Senegal
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Suriname
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad & Tobago
Tunisia
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vietnam