More than 500 containers of hardwood logs bound for China have been seized in Mozambique, the country’s daily newspaper Noticias has reported.

The paper said 531 containers of suspected illegal wood were discovered at the port of Nacala. Eight companies, believed to be Chinese, are thought to be behind the exports.

Mozambican Television said the cargo consisted of 11,000m³ of hardwood valued at around US$5m.

A ban on log exports has been in place since this summer, while there has been an export embargo of some hardwood species in unprocessed form since 2002.

The confiscation represents the biggest timber seizure of the year.