Controls on transit and transhipment. The example of three European countries

On November 23rd 2016, the Hong Kong harbour authorities seized nine Terrex armoured vehicles from the Singaporean army as their container ship was calling in Hong Kong. The vehicles were coming back from an exercise in Taiwan. There was no valid transit license for the vehicles and their seizure by the Chinese authorities started a diplomatic crisis between Singapore and China. This incident illustrates what is at stake with transit and transhipment controls of military equipment although those controls are often under-researched compared to other arms control measures. In this analysis, we will compare the transit and transhipment controls of three European countries, France, Germany and the Netherlands, which will allow us to draw some dividing lines between the different regimes and practices of those countries neighbouring Belgium.

Photo: Cochin International Contrainer Transhipment Terminal (Commons Wikimedia)