Reasons to work collectively to tackle corruption – International Anti-Corruption Day 9 Dec

By Cecilia Muller Torbrand, Executive Director, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network

Twenty years ago, a man was traveling down a coastline carrying a bag of cash and his job was to make sure shipping industry operations “worked smoothly.” Twenty years ago, foreign bribery was tax deductible, and the link between good governance and social economic development had not been fully recognized.

Twenty years later, it is recognized that corruption hampers trade, creates unfair opportunities, and numerous studies have shown that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) often suffer the most from corruption as they do not have the resources and capabilities to properly resist it.

The shipping industry’s attention is too often captured by new technology, and while there is no doubt this is part of our future, it provides for a convenient distraction over immediate challenges such as our ability to combat corruption and address the related risks that seafarers face daily:

“Port authorities threatened to delay the ship and fine us $60,000 for an error on the ships fuel declaration. Then he asked for $7,000 to help us have no problem.” Ship’s Captain

“Port authorities claimed to find cockroaches on board and threatened to fine the ship. For 10 cartons of cigarettes, we can make them go away.” Ship’s Captain

“Your passport visa and yellow fever vaccine certificate are not according to the rules and this is a fine of $ 10,000. Then he asked for $1000 to help us have no problem.” Ship’s Captain

With the inception of MACN ten years ago, the industry started to build capacity and around how to tackle the issue of corruption on an industry-wide collaborative basis, instead of working in silos. Fairly quickly, MACN found ways to get governments involved in finding constructive solutions. Today the industry can take pride in the practical and tangible tools MACN has developed to combat corruption and to demonstrate that it is possible to make progress through an inclusive model of engaging stakeholders through public private partnerships.

To support International Anti-Corruption Day, MACN is pleased to see the role senior leaders are playing to push for a corruption free ocean trade:

Kitack Lim, Secretary General, IMO: “The maritime industry is frequently exposed to the risk of corruption. Shipping is part of a vital multinational transport and logistics chain, delivering 11 billion tonnes of goods annually – including much-needed medicines and protective equipment during the pandemic. However, research has identified that seafarers may be subjected to corrupt demands, such as unlawful requests for payments to allow ships to enter and depart the port or disproportionate penalties applied for minor errors. This can lead to interruptions to normal operations, delaying ships and creating a risk to navigation and seafarer safety. The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network’s (MACN) anonymous reporting mechanism has collected close to 40,000 reports of corrupt demands globally.  This is most certainly a cause for concern.

 Why is it important for our industry to tackle corruption through collective action?

Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Møller Mærsk A/S says: “Corruption is a global issue with significant impact on societies, economies, companies and individuals. We, at Maersk, and as a global logistics company, operating in many countries with high corruption exposure, play a significant role in shaping the agenda when it comes to fighting corruption. We initiated the “Say No to Corruption” campaign on our vessels in 2011. This led to the formation of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network with Maersk as a founding member. Now MACN has more than 140 members from across the maritime industry all taking on the challenge of fighting corruption.”

Bjoerge Grimholt, President & CEO at Wilhelmsen Ships Service says: “Lack of transparency fuels corruption and, as such, we need to be more transparent and share experiences through a network of like-minded organisations to have a remote chance at starting to tackle this serious issue. Together, as an alliance, we will increase the impact and credibility of any individual action. This will in turn level the playing field between competitors.”

 Capt Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of Synergy Marine Group: “Corruption consistently endangers the morals of the entire world and not just our industry alone. It is a cancer and is our rightful duty to challenge it both individually and collectively to create an impartial, safer, and brighter future for the generations ahead. If we do not take a stand against it now, we are invariably supporting it and we will most certainly continue to fall victim to its damaging effects. Because of its rampant spread and deep rooted history over centuries in most aspects of our daily lives, the fight against corruption cannot be an individual effort, but needs to be a collective and altruistic effort by everyone in our industry looking to make the world a safer place.”   

Corruption has been around since the first moment humans created organized societies around 5,000 years ago. However, we do not have unlimited time on our side and resilient change is needed. In MACN’s 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day blog, we asked if we are winning or losing the battle – so are we?

In many ways we believe we are on the right track:

IMO and governments worldwide are recognizing the issue of corruption and how it hinders international trade. IMO’s Facilitation Committee addresses the ship/port interface and is currently working to develop guidance to implement and embrace anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices and procedures to assist all stakeholders in that interface.

MACN represents 50% of the worlds tonnage thus our collective voice is strong when engaging in dialogue with governments. Companies are no longer working on their own and progress has been made with creating a level playing field.

Governments and the shipping industry are addressing these issues through collective action and public-private partnership – it is recognized that efforts on both sides are needed to fight corruption.

It is essential we back the seafarers who operate our ships 24/7– the industry needs to empower seafarers to stand their ground when saying ‘NO’, and governments need to support and, in turn, empower their staff to act with integrity.

Only together we can reduce trade obstacles and improve port operations, which will enable a safe working environment for the seafarers, and we can incarnate better access to global markets for local businesses.

Maritime Anti-Corruption Network Expands “Help Desk” Concept to Ukraine

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has expanded its anti-corruption ‘Help Desk’ concept to Ukraine’s ports and terminals. This development follows the successful implementation of similar Help Desks, operated in conjunction with local partners in Nigeria and Argentina.

The local Help Desk will support MACN member companies calling at ports and terminals when vessels and crew are faced with corrupt demands. The Help Desk will provide initial operational advice in relation to the situation, and provide a formal way of liaising with, and escalating cases to relevant local public authorities. MACN has entered into an agreement with local law firm ATTORNEY ASSOCIATION “ANK. MARITIME LAW PRACTICE”, to run this support function. You can find more about ANK Maritime Law Practice here.

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN said “The ‘Help Desk’ model has proven its effectiveness in Nigerian and Argentinian ports, and we believe there is great potential for a similar support structure in Ukraine. Fundamental to MACN’s collective action approach is that sustainable solutions to tackle corruption must be enabled by, supported by, and beneficial to key local stakeholders. Dialogue with stakeholders is, therefore, a critical part of MACN’s collective action projects. MACN’s local partners have played a key role in the engagement and dialogue with such key stakeholders. Our partnership with ANK aims to strengthen integrity in the ports and terminals of Ukraine by working with local and international stakeholders.”

MACN represents a large part of the maritime industry and keeps a close dialogue with its member companies to understand the challenges in the region. A recent survey conducted by MACN together with industry partners showed that Ukraine is perceived as a challenging country in the Black Sea region for port calls.  Despite, Ukraine’s recent efforts to tackle corruption and enforce a new maritime regulatory framework, challenges remain and the consequences of rejecting illicit demands can include long delays of vessels and the threat of fines for alleged non-compliance.

Vivek Menon, Head of Collective Action and Partnerships (EMEA) at Maritime Anti-Corruption Network said “The primary objective of the Help Desk and the  partnership with ANK  is to make it easier for a ship’s Master to reject and ‘Say No’ to corrupt demands when calling Ukraine. There is a strong demand from the industry to work collectively to develop tools, and to share best practice and lessons learned on how to reject demands in Ukraine. There is also an interest from the maritime industry to work in partnership with local authorities to tackle corruption in the maritime and port sector.”

Additionally, in coordination with the MACN Secretariat, ANK will support in local communication efforts and awareness raising about MACN’s collective action initiative, carry out an integrity risk assessment of port-related challenges, and assist in developing relevant Integrity Tools.

For further information contact:

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN Executive Director

macn@bsr.org

MACN and CBi Launch Help Desk to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Corruption in Cargo Clearance at Nigerian Ports and Terminals

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) have launched an anti-corruption HelpDesk to support business involved in cargo clearance at ports and terminals in Nigeria. The HelpDesk enables companies to demand, track, and ensure greater compliance with legal Standard Operating Procedures in Nigerian ports, and achieve more efficient cargo clearance. The initiative is relevant for any business using Nigerian Ports and Terminals including Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers (Licensed Customs Agents), Port & Terminal agents, Importers of Goods and Commodities, Exporters of Goods and Commodities, Truck operators, Stevedoring companies, and Shipping Companies.

Through the HelpDesk, companies can report any cargo clearance issues. These reports will be assigned a trackable case number, allowing for monitoring of progress with a dedicated CBi Helpdesk Manager. CBi will help resolve the case through dialogue with relevant government authorities and other stakeholders.

“Having access to an effective escalation and feedback mechanism is key to improving accountability in the transport and logistics sector and supporting adherence to Standard Operating Procedures during cargo clearance, as well as for reporting and taking action on incidents of corruption. This new HelpDesk fills an urgent need for both business and government involved in cargo clearance” – Says Soji Apampa, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Convention on Business Integrity.

This system has been piloted by the Shipping Industry in Nigeria since 2019 with good results. Challenges that used to lead to days of delays have been resolved in hours. The HelpDesk has now been extended to also cover Cargo Clearance, using the same successful shipping industry model.

“MACN has developed, piloted, and deployed the help desk concept to prevent corruption in vessel clearance in Nigeria and other countries where MACN runs collective action initiatives. There is great interest from the industry in this tool and we have already seen how it helps companies conduct business with integrity and avoid costly delays. To replicate this concept in cargo clearance processes is a natural next step for MACN to address corruption across the extended transport and logistics supply chain.” – Says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN

The HelpDesk will also generate reports and analytics that will assist government stakeholders (e.g. Shippers’ Council, Customs Service, and others involved in cargo clearance) to evaluate themselves on both internal and external regulatory controls.

To drive this initiative, plans are being put in place to form strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors. On the private sector side, there will be an Integrity Alliance Group, an initiative to bring together like-minded individuals in the Private sector who are passionate about driving efficiency in the Nigerian Ports. The membership would consist of players in the Transport and Logistics sector, which would include clearing and forwarding companies, Cargo companies, Freight forwarders, Logistic companies, and other related stakeholders.

The major purpose of the Group is to:

  • Monitor present reforms at Nigerian Ports and across the Maritime Industry generally in a bid to recommend changes that would improve Port efficiency and increase the use of the user experience diary.

  • Assist in the promotion of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), The Grievance Mechanism portal, and other reporting helplines to resolve issues and challenges faced by different stakeholders

For business operating in Nigeria, cargo clearance in ports is a high-risk process that is vulnerable to both corruption and delays. Through this new HelpDesk, MACN and CBi are working with business to voice their compliance and efficiency challenges and have them resolved in collaboration with the Nigerian Government.

Work with us to achieve efficient cargo clearance and tackle corruption

Submit your reports via the User Experience Diary, or contact us directly to learn more about how we can assist:

For further information please contact:

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN Executive Director

macn@bsr.org

Updated Resources for Argentina

MACN is hereby sharing an updated guide about pre-loading inspections for vessels exporting grain products in Argentina. This guide is an updated version of the guidelines first published by MACN in 2017.

MACN has since 2014 implemented a collective action initiative in Argentina to tackle corruption related to inspections of holds and tanks. As a result of this initiative a new regulation to reduce discretion in the inspection process was introduced in 2017. To help MACN members and industry players navigate the new regulation, we are pleased to make available the following documents for download:

  • Resource Guide for Industry (PDF)     

  • Sign for Vessels (PDF)

Learn more about MACN’s work in Argentina here:

MACN Impact Report

We are pleased to share MACNs 2019 Impact report. The report describes the exciting progress we made in 2019 both in terms of how the membership has evolved and grown, the results of our collective action programs and the engagement in the membership on tools and best practice sharing. We are happy to share a summary in the report of the direction MACN will take the coming years with our new 2025 strategy and the exciting but also challenging work we have ahead of us.

MACN Announces Anti-Corruption E-Learning Initiative

MACN has announced the development of an e-learning training toolkit and platform on ethics and integrity, for ship owners, managers, agents, and maritime cadet schools. Funded by MACN and the TK Foundation, the training toolkit will target different specific user-groups of employees to make it fit for the learners, including captains and crew, employees supporting crew in operational roles, and senior management. The platform and training solutions will be delivered by Videotel and Seagull Maritime, now both part of Ocean Technologies Group.

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACNs Executive Director said: “The maritime industry is exposed to frequent demands for corruption including cash or in-kind benefits. Ultimately, it is the master who must manage the situation when government officials make demands for corrupt payments. This results in great stress and has a detrimental effect on the health and safety of the crew. Equipping the captain with tools and support functions to say no to demands is key to stopping bribery. It is also a valuable step in building a solid anti-corruption program. With our members insight and engagement, we are building a maritime specific course which will give Master and employees working in the maritime sector, valuable guidance to tackle corrupt demands.”

MACN’s current Integrity Training Toolkit was first developed in 2014 and has been successfully deployed by several MACN members. However, there is a demand from the membership to improve and further develop this training to include stakeholders such as port agents and maritime cadet schools.

Kjell-Arne Danielsen, Senior Vice President at KGJS, MACN Steering committee member, and leading on MACNs Capability building pillar says “Many maritime academies do not have anti-corruption in their curriculum. Unless offered by individual companies, cadets do not receive any training on how to tackle integrity challenges. By open sourcing MACN’s training toolkit to maritime academies, we can better equip the next generation of seafarers with the tools to ‘say no’ to bribery before they start their professional shipping careers. This is essential to change the culture across the maritime industry.”

The delivery methods will include rich-media online and offline training on an e-learning platform. The overall learning outcomes of each training module will include increased understanding of bribery laws and the consequences of corruption; enhanced skills to identifying bribery risks and apply anti-bribery laws in real world situations; improved awareness of the criminal and financial risks of corruption for individuals and companies; and better understanding of the red flags of bribery and learn how to respond appropriately.

Manish Singh, CEO of Ocean Technologies Group commented on their selection as platform and content provider “We are immensely proud to be part to work with the MACN membership on a project that will make such a difference to the daily lives of seafarers. There’s no place for corruption in our industry and training is key to protecting seafarers from illegal demands.”

Maritime Anti-Corruption Network to Scale Up Collective Action in Nigeria with support from Siemens AG

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN)—a global business network of over 130 companies working together to tackle corruption in the maritime industry—is expanding its Collective Action initiative in Nigeria with the support of the Siemens Integrity Initiative. The project will be implemented by MACN and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) and run from 2020 up to January 2023.

“Through the generous support from Siemens AG, CBi and MACN will be able to contribute to a stronger government and port authority compliance environment and encourage public-private oversight of compliance in ports and terminals. We believe this will lead to more effective seaports and terminals services, and improved corruption prevention practices that, ultimately, will benefit any business using seaports or terminals in Nigeria.” says Soji Apampa, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Convention on Business Integrity.

The Siemens Integrity Initiative promotes projects around the world that seek to combat corruption through Collective Action. The selection process is highly competitive and favours projects that have a direct impact on the private sector and that strengthen compliance standards and legal systems. CBi was a recipient of support under the first round of funding which it used to develop a Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) in partnership with the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

“The Siemens Integrity Initiative is a very competitive funding call that, over the years, has supported some of the leading anti-corruption initiatives globally. For MACN, CBi, and our local stakeholders, the support from Siemens is fantastic recognition of our Collective Action work, and the impact we had in the Nigerian port and maritime sector. We are grateful for the support and excited to add Siemens to the list of donors supporting MACN” says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN.

The project builds on, and will be integrated into, MACN and CBi’s ongoing work in Nigeria that is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. As a result of the Siemens Integrity Initiative support, MACN will expand its work into multiple agencies and port users, enabling greater public-private sector dialogue on integrity issues, equipping local players with proven Collective Action methodologies to drive change, and supporting maritime industry Collective Action initiatives.

“This initiative boosts Siemens efforts to support the establishment of higher integrity standards and fairer market conditions in Nigeria. We are looking forward to making this project a joint success.” Says Ms. Onyeche Tifase, CEO of Siemens Energy Nigeria.

Over the coming three years MACN and CBi will enable port users to demand, track, and ensure greater compliance in Nigerian ports, help strengthen government capability to establish compliance systems and collaboration between business, government and civil society. This will create the platform for the cultural changes that are necessary to improve trade flows in and out of Nigeria, and support the social economic growth the Nigerian government is targeting.

‘’The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) welcomes this intervention by the CBi and MACN. Ports processes and procedures are in dire need of reforms. It is our hope that this initiative will advance the cause of the needed change process.’’ Says Muda Yusuf, DG LCCI.

Maritime Anti-Corruption Network Launches Landmark Port Integrity Campaign in Indian Ports

Copenhagen, July 4, 2019— With the support of the Government of India, the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN)—a global business network of over 110 companies working together to tackle corruption in the maritime industry—today announces the launch of a groundbreaking Port Integrity Campaign in India.

 The campaign, which aims to reduce and (in the long term) eliminate integrity issues and bottlenecks to trade during operations in Indian ports, is a collective action of MACN, the Government of India, international organizations, and local industry stakeholders. The pilot of the campaign will take place in Mumbai ports (MbPT and JNPT) and will run until October this year.

 Key activities of the campaign include the implementation of integrity training for port officials and the establishment of clear escalation and reporting processes. Following the pilot, MACN aims to expand the program to other Indian ports.

 Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director, MACN, says: “MACN’s experiences in locations including Nigeria, the Suez Canal, and Argentina show us that real change is possible when all parties are engaged. That’s why we are delighted to have the support of so many key stakeholders for this Campaign to improve the operating environment in Indian ports.”

The Port Integrity Campaign has been made possible by strong commitment from the Indian Government to work with the private sector and to address integrity issues in Indian ports.

The Ministry of Shipping, India, stated: “We are committed to ensuring that vessels calling port in India do not face unnecessary obstacles or illicit demands. Tackling these issues is good for the shipping industry, for port workers, and for India as a trade destination. We are pleased to be joining forces with MACN and other stakeholders to implement concrete actions with the potential for real impact.”

 The MACN Port Integrity Campaign is also supported by: the United Nations Global Compact Network India (UNGCNI), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Indian Customs and Central Excise, the Directorate General of Shipping India, the Indian Ports Association (IPA), the Indian Private Ports and Terminals Association (IPPTA), the Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies India (MANSA), the Indian Shipowner’s Association (INSA), the Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), the Federation Of Indian Logistics Associations (FILA), the Danish Embassy, and the Norwegian Consulate General.

Maritime Anti-Corruption Network to Develop Global Port Integrity Index and Scale Up Collective Action in West Africa

Copenhagen, June 19, 2019—The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN)—a global business network of over 110 companies working together to tackle corruption in the maritime industry—today announces a new partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (MOFA). The partnership will allow MACN to develop and launch the first ever Global Port Integrity Index and to scale up its collective action activities in West Africa.

 The Global Port Integrity Index will provide an overview and comparison of illicit demands in ports around the world. It will be based on the unique first-hand data gathered from captains calling port around the world through MACN’s Anonymous Incident Reporting Mechanism. To date, MACN has collected over 28,000 reports of corruption in ports.

 “Through the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, MACN can take our world-leading incident data to the next level and turn it into a powerful advocacy tool. This index will be instrumental in highlighting the need for further investments and initiatives addressing integrity challenges in ports to promote fair global trade,” says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN.

 The partnership with MOFA will also allow MACN to expand its collective action program in West Africa and to deepen its current engagement in the region.

 MACN has been active in Nigeria since 2011 and has, in collaboration with the Convention on Business Integrity (an internationally-recognised NGO specialized in ethics and anti-corruption in West Africa), worked to promote integrity and good governance in the port sector in Nigeria. Actions to date have included the training of over 1,000 government officials in the ports of Lagos, Calabar, Onne, and Port-Harcourt.

 Through the new project, MACN will work with the international and local maritime industry and with key government authorities in Nigeria to improve the business climate and reduce corruption in the port and maritime sector.

 “Increasing transparency and ease of doing business in the port and maritime sector is a political priority of the Nigerian government, and a network like MACN has a key role to play in enabling change that is both business-friendly and that promotes integrity and business ethics,” comments Soji Apampa, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Convention on Business Integrity. “The members of MACN have significant commercial buying power when acting collectively. This is important for incentivizing local stakeholder from both the public and private sector to engage with us and actively address corruption”.

 The MOFA support for MACN is part of a global anti-corruption programme for 2019-2022, which extends support to civil society organisations, multilateral organisations/governments, and private sector-led initiatives.

MACN Launches 2018 Annual Report

We are pleased to share with you our 2018 Annual Report. This contains a comprehensive summary of our work and progress in 2018 under the three pillars of our strategy: Collective Action, Capability Building, and Culture of Integrity.

Below is the introductory letter from John Sypnowich, Chair of MACN:

Dear colleagues and friends,

After more than a year as Chair of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), two things are very clear to me. First, the growth and momentum of our Network gives us an unprecedented opportunity to progress in the battle to eliminate corruption in the maritime industry. Second, the need for action is high: our seafarers continue to face unacceptable risks in numerous regions.

There has been a lot to celebrate in 2018. Our growth to over 100 members makes us a clear leader in private-sector anti-corruption collaborations, and our collective actions have gone from strength to strength. As an example, following the implementation of new regulations in Argentina as a result of our collective action, reports of corrupt demands in Argentine port calls to MACN’s anonymous incident reporting system have dropped by 90 percent.

That’s a big result that we should all be proud of. But we also continue to hear accounts from our seafarers—either directly or through our shared reporting system—of harassment and threats as they try to complete routine port calls. In our social media campaign last December, we shared some of these stories:

– “If facilitation is not paid we are threatened with detention or no port clearance.”

– “Cases of extortion, harassment, and threats of violence are frequent events.”

– “In many places the customs officers always try to find defects and threaten us with penalties. They waste a lot of time checking and harassing the crew.”

Changing the attitudes that create these situations is hard work. We, as a Network, have the numbers to make a difference and we have seen this year that our efforts are directly benefiting seafarers. As one put it:

“There were a few initial attempts while we passed through, but after a documented and polite denial it was clear that the vessel was part of MACN and no more questions were asked.”

These stories inspire me and remind me of what we can achieve. However, effective action requires consistent engagement from us as companies and from our partners around the world. We must keep pushing: contributing ideas and reports, coordinating our activities, working with our internal teams.

I call on all of us to maintain our commitment to work with and for each other. Let’s all work together in 2019 to bring us even closer to our goal of a maritime industry free of corruption, and together we will create a safer environment for all of our crews.

 With warm regards,

John Sypnowich, The CSL Group, Inc.; Chair, MACN