Railport Brabant, train on the way to China

No real facts indicate that transported chemicals are used for drug production

Railport Brabant, train on the way to China

Assumptions around the possible use of chemicals transported via the China-Netherlands rail connection to produce drugs are incorrect. The companies involved in the route and the Dutch police have contradicted such claims, which were made earlier by a local Dutch newspaper. 

“The Dutch police confirmed that there are no real facts that chemical products transported on the Chengdu-Tilburg rail connection are used for illegal activities,” clarifies GVT Group of Logistics, the company managing the RailPort Brabant terminal. “ The allegations lack any supporting evidence and are based only on presumptions. Over the past years, all controls carried out in cooperation with the police have not produced any results. Signs of imports of precursor substances could not be confirmed”, highlights RTSB, the route’s rail operator.

Police and companies cooperate closely

In a previous communication, Dutch police spokesperson Thomas Aling explained that In 2016, a batch of tartaric acid from China was found by the police at Railport Brabant in Tilburg. “This is a raw material for making hard drugs, but it’s not certain that it would be used for these purposes,” Aling said. GVT confirmed it: “in 2016, there was only one small drum of wine stone acid transported via this rail connection, but the police have never proved that it is used for producing drugs,” said the logistics company.

Moreover, Thomas Aling clarified that the Dutch police regularly check cargo flows, including freight trains. “The contents of the freight trains are checked at the border between Poland and Belarus before entering the European Union. It is usual to carry out checks at the endpoints of transport,” he explained.

However, he reassured that there are no concrete indications that chemicals for the production of drugs are currently being transported between China and the Netherlands. “In fact, the Dutch police and the customs authorities are conducting a broader investigation into whether drugs are being transported from China to Europe. This is also called phenomenon research, in which we investigate whether there is a particular problem. This is partly intended to keep the industry healthy. We also do this in the ports, together with customs and companies.”

No connection with the Chengdu-Tilburg train

GVT also mentioned that it is aware that the “Dutch police cooperate with the Chinese police authorities investigating all the inbound flows by ocean, air and rail- international freight to check if the transport flows for raw material from which hard drugs can be produced”.

However, it does not particularly aim at the Chengdu-Tilburg rail connection. The Dutch Police only want to check if there are any kinds of products that can be used as raw materials for producing drugs, but it only becomes a crime when they start producing drugs. RTSB also clarified that “at no time has the company been contacted by the police or investigated by them”.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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