COTONOU (Reuters) - Authorities in Benin Republic seized 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of cocaine found in a shipping container at the port of the capital Cotonou, the head of the maritime military police Boris Tchilao said on Friday.

The cocaine was found in a shipment belonging to a local businessman on Thursday, Tchilao said.

With its porous borders and corruptible officials, West Africa has for more than a decade been a major transit point for cocaine grown in Latin America on its way to Europe.

Policing of maritime routes in the past few years has helped drastically reduce the volume of cocaine transiting through West Africa.

(Reporting by Allegresse Sasse; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by James Dalgleish)