MACN Launches First-of-its-Kind Anti-Corruption Database
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has launched a one-of-a-kind online platform that shows the frequency with which corruption is reported at individual ports. The Global Port Integrity Platform (GPIP) is based on MACN’s catalogue of incident data, including more than 50,000 incident reports collected since 2011. It also draws on external data sources to allow MACN's members to compare individual ports' integrity risks.
“GPIP will be a gamechanger in the fight against maritime corruption. Currently, there are no international standards, or systematic methods of measuring integrity within and between ports," said MACN Associate Director Martin Benderson. "GPIP will allow charterers, cargo owners, and shipping companies to compare ports’ integrity performance and identify risks when trading. For seafarers and shipping companies, GPIP will provide dynamic data that will help empower the industry to ‘Say No’ to corruption.”
The platform currently includes data on 106 ports from over 50 countries, but MACN’s ambition is to double the number of ports in the system by the end of the year. Access is available for MACN members, select stakeholders and port sector partners, like investors and international donors.
MACN also sees the portal as a tool for "evidence-based" conversations among governments, industry stakeholders, and port operators - a new way to share information about corruption and to compare and contrast performance.
The petty corruption found at certain ports and strategic waterways is an impediment for global trade. Solicitations for bribes - typically for cigarettes, alcohol or cash - are routinely encountered in official interactions at some ports, and refusing to pay often results in delays for the ship.
“The cost of corrupt demands, and the repercussions for refusing them, have massive consequences for the industry and trade," said MACN CEO Cecilia Müller Torbrand.
Thanks in part to efforts by campaigners like MACN, port corruption has been on the decline for many years. The drop-off was especially pronounced during the height of the pandemic, when vessel quarantine restrictions made it more difficult for port officials to come aboard and solicit bribes in person.