THE AUSTRALIAN Border Force was at Port of Townsville last week for what it called a “border blitz” aimed at pushing back against potential criminal activity in the supply chain.

The week of action was part of Operation Jardena, which was set up to disrupt criminal organisations exploiting supply chains to import illicit drugs and tobacco.

ABF authorities focused on ensuring proper processes for site access at the port and airport vicinity and maintaining integrity of international cargo.

Queensland Police and Queensland Transport and Main Roads also supported the activity.

ABF Inspector Neil Singh said officers have been working around the clock since Operation Jardena was established to identify and disrupt the exploitation of supply-chain vulnerabilities.

“People will remember our detection earlier this year of almost 250 kilograms of cocaine off a vessel arriving into Port of Townsville,” Inspector Singh said.

“This highlights the very real risk of criminal activity at all international border crossings – and not just at major metropolitan locations.

“In order to protect the Queensland community from the impacts of criminal activity in our regional ports, it’s critical that we crush the ability for criminals to operate at the border.”

Inspector Singh said criminal groups can take advantage of “trusted insiders” in the supply chain.

“Those who work in the supply chain have unique access and privileged positions, and nefarious groups will do what they can to corrupt them. We must not, and will not, allow that.

“Last week we were able to gather significant amounts of information and also identify areas of local improvement and reform – including through the improved use of CCTV, access card issuing and other measures relating to international cargo and vessels.

“We also had a strong focus on education – ensuring stakeholders knew their responsibilities and the key role they play in ensuring the integrity of Australia’s supply chain in our regional areas.”

Inspector Singh thanked Port of Townsville for its assistance and co-operation during the activity, and their “clear commitment to continual improvement” in this space.