The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has launched a unique online platform that shows how often corruption is reported in individual ports. The Global Port Integrity Platform (GPIP) is based on the MACN catalog of incident data, including more than 50,000 incident reports collected since 2011. It also draws on external data sources to allow MACN members to compare port integrity risks.
“GPIP will be a game changer in the fight against maritime corruption. There are currently no international standards or systematic methods for measuring integrity within and between ports,” said MACN Associate Director Martin Benderson. “GPIP will enable charterers, cargo owners and shipping companies to compare port integrity performance and identify risks in trading. For seafarers and shipping companies, GPIP will provide dynamic data that will help the industry say ‘no’ to corruption.”
The platform currently includes data on 106 ports from over 50 countries, but MACN’s goal is to double the number of ports in the system by the end of the year. Access is available to MACN members, selected port sector stakeholders and partners such as investors and international donors.
MACN also sees the portal as a tool for “evidence-based” conversations between governments, industry stakeholders and port operators – a new way to share information on corruption and compare and contrast performance.
Petty corruption in certain ports and strategic waterways is a hindrance to global trade. Requests for bribes – typically for cigarettes, alcohol or cash – are routinely encountered during official interactions in some ports, and refusal to pay often causes delays for the ship.
“The costs of corrupt claims and the consequences of their rejection have massive consequences for industry and trade,” said MACN CEO Cecilia Müller Torbrand.
Thanks in part to the efforts of activists like MACN, port corruption has been on the decline for many years. The decline was particularly pronounced during the peak of the pandemic, when ship quarantine restrictions made it difficult for port officials to board ships and solicit bribes in person.