The results in Suez have proved that collective action can be highly effective. From a situation where there were requests for cigarettes in 95 percent of MACN member transits, now you hardly hear about any such requests made to the MACN members in the Suez Canal. “A new approach has arrived, there is no uncertainty about the rejection of corrupt demands, and the relevant officials are now doing their job without hesitation
or threat of illegal delay for the passing vessels,” Benderson reports.
Take time – but it helps
It takes time to change an economic system and culture that includes corruption. For many portside employees, this has been a necessary extra income due to typically low salaries. But this cannot be a problem that a Captain or company should solve by being forced to make illegal payments. These kinds of topics must be addressed at employer level and solved by the employer and the employees alone.
Even if MACN can prove good results, there is still a whole lot left to be done, Benderson continues.
“In Mumbai, India, we have starteda project in close cooperation with the authorities from the Ministry of Transportation, Customs, and the port administration. Commencing an anti-corruption programme with official support is the preferred way
to conduct any project to challenge ingrained behaviour in a corruptive system. Additionally, we have some 10 to 15 countries on our ‘hot spot list’ where we are looking at putting in place collective actions. We are looking at similar strategies to combat problems with corruption in ports in Indonesia, Malaysia and Ukraine. We have a lot to do, but we have seen that it helps to combat corruption as a coordinated collective group. In the end, it is economically beneficial for all parties involved to eliminate corruption – both on shore, onboard, for the shipping industry at large.”