Combating corruption in the maritime industry


The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a maritime industry association working towards the vision of a maritime industry free of corruption that enables fair trade for the benefit of society at large. MACN and its members work towards the elimination of all forms of maritime corruption by: raising awareness of the challenges faced; implementing the MACN Anti-Corruption Principles and co-developing and sharing best practices; collaborating with governments, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to identify and mitigate the root causes of corruption; and creating a culture of integrity within the maritime community.

The new Indo-Danish Centre of Excellence in shipping welcomes the MACN-India initiatives, as both countries share a mutual vision to transform the maritime sector in terms of reducing its carbon footprint and ensure its transition to more safe and sustainable levels of operations in line with general commitments made in the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark from 28 September 2020.

Maritime corruption is a problem which affects shipping all over the world on several levels:  It leads to social and economic issues, endangers the safety of seafarers and adds to security risks in ports and on board ships.

Maritime corruption also leads to environmental burdens due to increased waiting time for ships in and around ports, hindering any efforts to improve air quality and reduce the carbon footprint of maritime operations. All of this has a negative effect on the industry as a whole.

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) was for this reason established in 2011 with the objective of combating corruption in the maritime sector, globally. MACN, a not-for-profit maritime industry association, which now holds over 190 member companies, is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The network was launched in India in July 2022.  

Since then, MACN-India has succeeded as a credible and action-oriented bridge of trust between public sector agencies and private sector entities by propagating anti-corruption initiatives with neutrality, objectivity, and professionalism. These include digital initiatives to fight maritime corruption, such as operationalising a 24x7 and multilingual MACN-India technology-oriented Helpdesk where 16 corruption related incidents have been reported since November last year.

All cases were escalated by MACN and reported to the highest authorities of the public agencies concerned. This has led to successful pushback against corruption, creating a positive impact, both on trade efficiency and on strengthening integrity in India, which has resonated and been received well amongst stakeholders.

Digital maritime solutions as part of Indo-Danish maritime partnership and collaboration

Both India and Denmark share a mutual vision with regards to transforming the maritime sector and are collaborating on enhancing the framework conditions for a strong maritime sector in both nations. The two nations are doing so through the establishment of a bilateral Centre of Excellence in Shipping, under the auspices of the Green Strategic Partnership.

Among other things, the bilateral CoE will focus on digital maritime solutions, for improving the movement of ships and cargo.

To that end, an increased focus on high-tech solutions, such as those promoted through the MACN initiatives, could also enhance the efficiencies in the supply chain and overall logistic costs to ultimately reduce the carbon footprint and prevent opportunities for corruption when ships arrive to Indian Ports.

Though combating corruption is not a direct focus area in the CoE, it could prove to be a positive by-product of the joint initiatives and thus complement the great efforts of the MACN efforts in India and around the world, to the benefit of people, environment and business.

*Note: H. E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador, the Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi has co-authored the article with Ms Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network.

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