Höegh Autoliners Fights Corruption Through Collaboration
The shipping industry is linked with all the sectors in some form or the other. With companies all around the world being global, shipping has become an important part of their routine business.
Thus, it can bring changes in the entire world. However, this also makes the shipping industry the most vulnerable to challenges that are faced by the world like corruption.
According to the United Nations, “every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 percent of the global GDP.” Corruption is one of the biggest hurdles that come in between the development of the economy and society in the world.
Joining forces to stop corruption
Corruption largely shows the missing transparency in Governing National systems. Corruption has become a part of the routine business, thus one cannot fight against it alone. In order to take a step against corruption in the maritime sector, Höegh Autoliners, Maersk Line and other shipowners created the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) in 2012.
Maria Hempel, Chief Compliance Officer explains, “The MACN network was designed with the idea of “strength in numbers”. When members establish strong relationships with each other, they feel more empowered again corruption and can speak out, as they have support from those inside the network. Through joint action, MACN members work in collaboration with local authorities to develop solutions that are both beneficial to all and realistic to implement.”
Collective action in Suez
Corruption is very common in the Suez Canal because there is a consistent demand among the Captains and crew for “facilitation payments” for the passage or for routine services.
In order to overcome this issue, in December 2015, the “Say No” campaign was started by MACN.
Maria continues, “In order for our captains to be able to say no to demands for facilitation payments, they must feel supported by strong company policies and values. With the implementation of the campaign, we see that our vessels sailing the Suez Canal have had smoother transits. With the assistance of our agents, and support from the Company, the Captains find it easier to refuse demands and avoid situations of duress and threats on board.”
Collective action in Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria is yet another port where requests for facilitation payments were received by Höegh Autoliners.
MACN partnered with UN Development Program (UNDP) and launched its first collective action project in the country in 2012. MACN developed the project further in 2018 by bringing together the international maritime industry and the local authorities of Nigeria for implementing peaceful port and vessel clearance procedures. This enhancement project involved the training of 1,000 government officials in the ports of Lagos (Apapa), Lagos (Tin Can), Calabar, Onne, and Port-Harcourt.
Maria says, “With the implementation of the project in Nigeria we have experienced improved ease of operations with our Captains and crew finding it easier to refute requests for unjustified payments from officials.”
Höegh Autoliners work in various regions where corruption is a major problem.
Maria continues, “Even though we see many improvements in regards to facilitation payments globally, our efforts have to continue if we are to have a corruption free industry. The aim is to stop the demands. Working with MACN, provides a safe forum for engagement. Members can share best practices, create awareness of industry challenges, and collectively develop solutions for tackling bribes, facilitation payments and other forms of corruption.”