According to reports, more than 4,200 packages hidden in duffel bags were found in a shipping container in Hamburg, Germany. The freight container was believed to contain soybeans. The shipment was being transferred from Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo to Antwerp, Belgium, through Hamburg.
In a recent statement, the Hamburg Customs agency said, “This enormous amount represents the largest individual seizure of cocaine in Germany.”
"Assuming that this likely high-purity cocaine can be cut to triple the amount for street sale, the 4.5 tons has a street value of approximately €1 billion [$1.1 billion]," the agency added, according to multiple reports, also noting that the drugs have been destroyed with “strict secrecy and extensive security precautions.”
Hamburg is Germany’s largest port and has been dubbed “Tor zur Welt,” which translates into “Gateway to the World.” It is the third-busiest port in Europe, behind ports in Rotterdam and Antwerp, and is the 15th-largest globally. In 2018, 8,726,000 twenty-foot equivalent units were handled in Hamburg, according to Hafen Hamburg Marketing.
According to a 2016 report titled “EU Drug Markets Report” by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, “globalization and the growing use of the internet are factors that have had a big impact on illicit drug markets and their wider ramifications.”
“Globalization simultaneously facilitates drug supply, by generally improving its efficiency and multiplying opportunities, while hampering drug supply reduction activities, by making it more difficult to stop larger and more numerous drug flows,” the report adds.