Today we wanted to share with you a displeasing experience that we lately had so that everybody could learn from it.

A week ago a company X (as the case is still in procedures, we’ll keep the name to ourselves) ordered road transportation from us. The invoice and consignment note showed a quantity of 1 euro pallet and the cargo was plastic work pieces. The sender wanted to transport the goods from Estonia to Germany, so we gladly took the order in.

contrabandDuring a routine check-up the Latvian Customs stopped the truck on the Latvian-Lithuanian border. They found a bulk of contraband cigarettes with Belarusian origin. Our truck was escorted straight away to the Latvian Customs office by a convoy. Once there, it took us a full day to provide explanations and clarifications.

As a result all parties had a direct loss due to the incident.

  • First of all, the delivery for our other customers was postponed (the truck carried some other cargo too).
  • Secondly, the driver and the truck wasted a full day.
  • And finally, 5 of our office employees wasted numerous working hours to provide explanations to the Customs office.
  • All in all, nobody was happy with the result and everybody had to bear financial losses.

According to one Estonian logistics news portal ( the most typical size of the contraband is 2-4 pallets. False information is written to the documents and the contraband is hidden inside some other materials. The most common ones are macaroni, couches, construction materials and computer cases.

So, what to do when you get a hint that there is some contraband shipping in process? One should contact the local customs office immediately. This way we can best fight the smugglers and keep our field of work safe from them.

The logistics companies ought to recheck their working process and put into force routines that make it harder for a potential smuggler to take advantage of them. This means routine check-ups on the data related to the cargo and keeping archives. Should the invoices, consignment notes and packing lists not match one should always recheck the cargo. Also cash payments should be avoided.

This in short was our latest experience with contraband. Hopefully you will not run into such cases, but when you do, we hope you now are more prepared for them.