More than 1,300 so-called transhipment containers are currently blocked for inspection at Antwerp port in Belgium, while another 200 are stuck in the port of Zeebrugge.
Most of the containers are transhipments, which means the goods are off-loaded from one ship to another to complete their journey to a different destination, and Belgian ports serve as intermediate destinations.
About 1,500 transport containers with final destination Russia are currently blocked for control in the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge because of whether or not they have been subject to recent European sanctions.
“These containers can only be released if the companies concerned present the necessary documents showing that they do not fall under the scope of European sanctions,” chief of customs and excise Kristian Vanderwaeren said.
“If the documents do not provide clarity, we carry out a physical load check.”
Since the European Union imposed various economic sanctions on Russia, customs have already checked more than 10,000 containers. In addition to the ports, 374 shipments of goods destined for Russia are currently blocked in Belgium, while 16 shipments that originated from Russia were also blocked.
Customs expect the number of checks and blockages to continue increasing sharply in the coming weeks due to the various sanctions.