How the Netherlands became a global cocaine hub

The surge in trafficking through the Port of Rotterdam has coincided with spectacular violence
The Nation (US)
Wednesday, March 23, 2022

antwerp harbourWhile the scale of the discovery was shocking, the fact of it was not. The number of cocaine seizures in Europe has been rising steadily, quadrupling between 2009 and 2019. With these hauls representing a fraction of what is actually being trafficked, Europe has become the “epicenter of the global cocaine trade”. Most of these shipments go through Antwerp and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which boast two of the continent’s largest ports. (Antwerp became the main cocaine hub after Rotterdam started tightening security, but an estimated 80 percent of Belgium-bound cocaine still ends up in the hands of Dutch traffickers.) For criminal groups, the ports’ world-class transportation infrastructure makes servicing the nearly 500-million-person European Union market as convenient for them as app-based delivery services are for their customers.