India Takes Further Steps in Fight Against Corruption

For almost two years, the MACN Secretariat in Copenhagen has been unable to meet up with partners from India due to the massive restrictions imposed by the country’s Covid-19 lockdown.

So when Jonas Søberg Erlandsen, MACN Senior Lead in South Asia, and the rest of the team arrived in May, the visit was long-awaited. During the stay, Jonas and the team held 11 intense meetings with both private and public partners involved in the fight against maritime corruption.

“While online meetings have enabled us to stay in touch, one cannot replace the one-to-one physical meetings we have with our partners.  This is especially true when meeting people for the first time, since our work relies on establishing mutual trust,” says Jonas Søberg Erlandsen.

Local MACN Representation
For most of MACNs in country work, we have local partners to handle day-to-day tasks but for India we decided to have a full-time resource based in Mumbai.

According to Jonas Søberg Erlandsen the presence of Mr. Soumya Prakash Dalua, MACN Project Manager in India, has yielded great benefits in the daily dialogue and enhanced the agility of staff who are responsible for organizing local events. MACN has also recruited Mr Deepak Shetty, Former Secretary to the Government of India and Director General of Shipping, as MACNs Senior Advisor who has been key in helping MACN establish contact with senior level stakeholders across the public and private sector.

By the end of July, the local MACN representation in Mumbai will be staffed by three people who will be working out of Mumbai, which is the commercial capital of India and the place most stakeholders have their headquarter in the country.

Ready for action
MACN first engaged with India in 2015, and a “Say-no-to-corruption” campaign was successfully launched in 2019 across the ports of Mumbai as a collective action with the Indian government, international organizations, and local industry stakeholders.

MACN will this year – together with the Indian National Shipowners Association and UN Global Compact Networks – take the next steps in launching the MACN HelpDesk. India will then become the fourth country to implement the HelpDesk, following in the footsteps of Nigeria in 2019, Ukraine in 2020 and Egypt in 2021.

In short, the local HelpDesk provides instant assistance from the MACN local office for vessels susceptible to corruption. The HelpDesk therefore empowers the private sector to not only say no to corruption but document any corrupt demands and immediately escalate such incidents to the partners who can assist in mitigate these risks, thus reducing delays at ports.

Positive industry response
According to Jonas Søberg Erlandsen the will to fight maritime corruption in India is remarkably strong, and the MACN team has been met by open doors and a great willingness to discuss further anti-corruption initiatives.

“Based on our meetings I predict that within the next two years, we will have ‘Say No to Corruption’ campaigns set up in the majority of the major ports in India, also supported by the HelpDesk concept,” says Jonas Søberg Erlandsen and continues:

“It is extremely important that all parts of the maritime industry get involved, since it only takes one rotten apple to sour the whole barrel. We rely on complete cooperation throughout.”
MACN will visit India again late July to build on the constructive dialogue established at the meetings in May and to launch the “Say No” campaign in Chennai.


The industry is coming together


With the world slowly putting covid-19 behind it, 150 MACN member representatives met in London in late April to catch up on the latest initiatives for fighting global maritime corruption.

Back in 2011 when MACN was launched, no one could have imagined the great achievements that are being seen today. A great example of the consistent and determined progress is Nigeria, where both public and private interests have been unified in the fight against maritime corruption.

The collaboration and results reached so far in Nigeria was also the topic for the first keynote session at the members’ meeting in London. According to Cecilia Müller Torbrand, CEO of MACN, the Nigerian case demonstrates how progress can be reached when mutual dialogue and sound collaboration between public and private representatives are established.

“Since MACN members represent the whole value chain of shipping we have the ability and flexibility to approach challenges from a wide number of perspectives. In this way our members are also our greatest assets to understand the challenges better,” Cecilia Müller Torbrand explains.

First in person meeting since 2019
Organizing a busy network without the ability to meet physically has a new challenge for Cecilia Müller Torbrand and the rest of the MACN team over the past two years.  So instead of holding two physical meetings annually, MACN set up several online meetings and webinars during the coronavirus pandemic. In this way MACN was able to reach more employees in the membership but many member representatives were longing for the in-person connection.

“Online workshops will remain in order keep good momentum between the in-person meetings, Online workshops are useful to connect with people who may not have the possibility to travel but we will also continue to arrange in person member meetings as they represent the core values of MACN and its members. says Cecilia Müller Torbrand.

Visit MACN website for the complete list of all 171 members.

The value of having the industry coming together

The Spring Meeting was held at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London and covered a mix of plenary sessions and workshops. On the first day, members had the opportunity to get inspired by the work that the Nigerian government has been implementing together with MACN local partner CBi and had the chance to hear in breakout sessions from MACN’s local partners who are supporting and implementing actions on the ground in Nigeria, Egypt, India, and Bangladesh. The sessions and discussions on the second day revolved around MACN’s capability building workshops as well as the different industry working groups. The membershp also heard from MACNs local partner calling in from Ukraine and had deep dive with compliance experts on the latest compliance trends and pitfalls in 2022.

Fabrizio Camerini, Vice President, Ethics & Compliance at Yara International, and one of the 150 participants at the meeting, found the agenda and content very well organized and valuable for the members.

“Anti-corruption should be a permanent drive irrespective of situation and circumstances, but the post-covid world and business aspirations for progress, profits and efficiency, demand enhanced work towards defendable compliance practices,”

Camerini Fabrizio says.

Another MACN member, Gitanjali Sakhuja, also found the meeting inspiring. Gitanjali Sakhuja is Head of Governance & Compliance at Svitzer.

“Indeed fantastic to meet in person and build on our commitments to tackle corruption in the industry,” she says.

The next global member meeting will take place 29-30 November in Dubai. We look forward to seeing our members and partners then!



Great momentum in fighting maritime corruption in Nigeria


During the last decade, a collective demand for change across the maritime sector in Nigeria has demonstrated a way out of corruption.

The importance of having both private and public sectors together in the same room has been crucial in the fight against maritime corruption in Nigeria.

According to Associate Director from MACN, Vivek Menon, the result of having both sectors, private and public, engaged in the same agenda has created an exceptional environment where anti-corruption initiatives are not just talked about but acted upon.

In late March 2022, Vivek met with leading representatives in the Nigerian maritime industry to discuss next steps in the fight against corruption and spent a month in the country to support the implementation of the progress.  Top of the agenda was further enrolment of a compliance framework for respective agencies covering all major ports in the country.

Data driven approach
MACN’s involvement in Nigeria began in 2012 with the launch of the first collective action project, carried out in partnership with the UN Development Program and the Nigerian government.

As in any other country that MACN engages with, a local partner is assigned to act on the ground in keeping with MACN’s mission. In Nigeria, the local partner is the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) under the leadership of Mr. Soji Apampa.

Since the launch of MACN HelpdDesk in 2019, the number of reported anonymous incidents has decreased from a total of 266 reported in 2019 to 84 in 2021. By late March 2022, only 10 incidents had been reported. In terms of direct costs for vessels using Nigerian ports, the delay has diminished from 7-10 days to 1-4 hours which has lowered the operational costs due to delays from estimated $150,000 to $20,000.

In brief the local HelpDesk provides instantly assistance from a MACN local partner on the ground – like CBi in Nigeria – for vessels facing corruption. The HelpDesk has thereby empowered the private sector not only saying no to corruption but also document the incidents and escalate to the appropriate authorities immediately, which has reduced delays in ports.

Engagement from highest level
Besides the mutual interest from both private and public sector, the involvement from the highest political level in Nigeria has been a key factor for the progress witnessed so fare. From the start of the project, it has been under the careful supervision of the Nigerian Presidents office, with the Vice President being the Chair of the Port Steering Committee.

“We are working towards institutionalising the role of the anti-corruption work in the Nigerian maritime sector. This will greatly assist in bridging sustainability toward the efforts put in place over the past decade,” explains Vivek.

At a Roundtable meeting the 31st of March in Abuja the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi represented by the Permanent Secretary Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said in the keynote:

“We cannot afford to lose the gains and momentum that we have successfully achieved.”

On behalf of the Minister of Transportation Dr. Ajani further underlined the long-term focus on fighting maritime corruption and argued for an assertive system of sanctions and reward-based compliance.

Stick and carrot
The establishment of The Port Standing Task Force (PSTT) is widely acknowledged as the most important initiative in the fight against corruption, and the main reason behind the decreasing number of reported corruption incidents.

With various government agencies that vessels typically encounter when docking into a Nigerian port, the need for an overarching supervisory unit has never been more important.  The PSTT fulfils that requirement and the National Coordinator of the task force, Mr. Moses Fadipe, reports directly to the Vice President’s office.

Until now the anti-corruption strategy has though primarily focused on sanctioning those involved in corruption. The next steps are the creation and maintenance of a new ‘culture of compliance’. According to Vivek, the framework for the compliance setup within the respective agencies is still in the making, and a solution might also be to incentivise those port officials who succeed in bringing the number of corruption incidents down further.

“At MACN, although we have a methodology that has worked and shown progress, we do not work to a fixed model that suits every country and every port, i.e. there is no one-solution-fits-all. Therefore, we need to identify the best approach for Nigerian ports by working closely with those involved in the port sector,” explains Vivek.

Untapped potential
Being the most populated country and one of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria and its shipping industry is widely acknowledged as having huge untapped potential.

In fact, Nigeria’s Shippers Council (NSC) estimates that the shipping industry could benefit in bringing $17 billion and creating four million jobs over the next five years.

Vivek Menon shares NSC’s predictions and adds that the intra-regional trade in Africa alone has a potential of 33 percent more vessels using Nigerian ports according to a recent UNCTAD report.

On the other hand, if Nigeria fails to sustain its impressive fight against corruption in the maritime sector witnessed over the last decade, other ports across West Africa are poised ready to welcome those vessels that avoid Nigeria.


MACN’s Associate Director Vivek Menon