820 cubic meters of alleged illegal Azobe wood were seized in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium on June 21, 2021.
This volume is enough to fill about 40 truckloads.
The confiscation was triggered by an investigation of a Dutch importer.
Dutch importer unable to demonstrate legality of Azobe
According to the Dutch National Police, a Dutch importer was unable to demonstrate that the Azobe was legally harvested, and that it meets the requirements of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) cited here.
The importer was allegedly given time to demonstrate legality, but was unable to do so.
As a result, the lumber was seized by Belgian Federal Police, in cooperation with the Dutch Police and Dutch and Belgian customs.
It will be transported from the Port of Antwerp to a storage facility in the Netherlands until a judge decides what will be done with it.
[We want to send a signal to the industry: importing, selling on, purchasing this type of illegal timber – and thereby also maintaining illegal logging and deforestation – is unacceptable. We are therefore doing plenty of research into this, trying as much potentially collect information and evidence so that we can stop this type of environmental crime.]English Translation – Peter Hartog, detective and project leader of the Environment team within the Rotterdam police unit.
The wood is typically used in outdoor applications like decking, bridges, retaining walls, and garden furniture. (See examples of Azobe end-uses).
This is a developing story. Last updated June 22, 2021 4:55pm EST.
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