Antwerp takes over from Rotterdam as Europe's leading port for cocaine seizures

Last year set a new record for cocaine seizures in the Belgian port of Antwerp.

Authorities say they seized almost 110 tonnes of the drug last year, a significant increase on the previous 12 months.

The port is now the main gateway for narcotics to be shipped into Europe from Latin America.

For the first time, Belgian and Dutch officials decided to jointly reveal their annual figures.

Cocaine seizures in Antwerp surged from 89.5 tonnes in 2021 to 109.9, while in Rotterdam the trend was downward, dropping from 70 to 52.5 tonnes.

It means Antwerp has now overtaken the Dutch city in terms of interceptions.

But authorities in both countries remain alarmed at the amount of hard drugs being smuggled into Europe via container ships.

They say criminal gangs on both sides of the Atlantic are growing in size and ambition in response to increasing demand in what is a highly lucrative market for them.