Trained and Efficient: Enhancing Ukrainian Customs’ Anti-Smuggling Capacities with ‘EU4IBM-Resilience’ Support

Friday, November 10, 2023


Last month, at the Orlivka checkpoint, nearly 17,000 packs of cigarettes were discovered and detained in a bus bound for Bucharest. However, the contraband never reached Romania. Using the mobile scanning system “Rapiscan Eagle”, Ukrainian customs officially discovered hiding places with smuggled goods.

According to the State Customs Service (SCS) of Ukraine, this achievement was largely facilitated by the skills acquired by the customs officers at the mentioned checkpoint through specialised training. Specifically, these officers mastered new methodologies for analysing X-ray images by prpractisingn state-of-the-art simulators — a software product that the SCS obtained with support from the ‘EU Support in Strengthening Integrated Border Management in Ukraine – Resilience’ project (EU4IBM-Resilience).

The ‘Rapiscan Eagle’ cargo mobile scanning system is a non-intrusive control technology and offers numerous advantages. Primarily, it enables the inspection of goods without requiring unloading or unpacking, thereby facilitating swift decisions on whether an in-depth customs inspection is necessary.

However, even the most advanced technology cannot ensure 100% effectiveness. Detecting possible violations is only possible through professional analysis of X-ray images. This task falls to the operator of the scanning system. In a relatively short time, the SCS specialist must analyze the quantity and physical properties of the goods, their density and contours, presence of foreign objects in the voids of vehicles or containers, as well as ensure there are no double walls in the vehicle or signs of external interference.

Despite the advancements, even the most sophisticated technology cannot guarantee absolute effectiveness. Identifying potential violations relies solely on the professional analysis of X-ray images, a responsibility shouldered by the scanning system operator. In a relatively short time, specialists from the SCS must meticulously assess various factors, including the quantity and physical attributes of the goods, their density, contours, the presence of foreign objects within vehicle or container voids, and ensure the absence of concealed compartments or signs of external tampering.

The practical efficacy of the training is already being showcased by Ukrainian customs officers, notably demonstrated in the recent interception of cigarette smuggling at the ‘Orlivka’ checkpoint. The ‘EU4IBM-Resilience’ project remains committed to further bolstering the State Customs Service’s endeavors in combatting border smuggling.

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The EU4IBM project team includes international technical assistance professionals and subject matter experts from Ukraine and the European Union who work on a daily basis to support the border management agencies of Ukraine in the time of war, as well as to further assist in the implementation of national reforms that bring the Ukrainian border management system closer to the standards and best practices of integrated border management. Support our work by sharing our official page on social networks

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