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Poland halts large shipments of illegal coolant

Authorities in Łódź have intercepted a shipment of 25 tons of illegal refrigerant with a market value of around €600,000.

In what is believed to be the largest seizure of its kind in Europe, officials from the Chamber of Tax Administration in Łódź discovered the illegal refrigerant during customs clearance of two shipments from Ukraine.

The shipments consisted of R134a, R404A and R410A cylinders, with a total weight of 24,459kg. They were being imported without the required permits and markings. Customs authorities put the value at PLZ2.5m (€583,000).

Document control by Customs and Tax Service officials and identification of the gases with specialized equipment, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Inspectorate and employees of the PROZON Climate Protection Foundation, left no doubt that the products did not meet the basic requirements related to their import into the EU.

The refrigerant was in illegal disposable cylinders and the shipment was confirmed to be outside the European quota system.

The fate of the shipment will now be decided by a court which may order the forfeiture of the illegal refrigerant to the Polish treasury. It is also possible that the destruction of the refrigerant may be ordered at the importer’s expense.

Poland was particularly affected by the proliferation of illegal refrigerant entering Europe as a result of price increases caused by F-gas reductions. PROZON, an NGO supported by Poland’s leading refrigerant distributors, has estimated that the illegal trade was valued at €55 million in 2018 and accounted for 40% of Polish demand. This is estimated to have cost the Polish treasury approximately EUR 7 million in uncollected taxes and customs duties.

Source: from 4/04/2019.

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