Global insight

FIVE reasons why corruption prevails in the global air cargo industry

FIVE reasons corruption prevails in the air cargo industry

LATIN America contains some of the largest, blossoming air cargo markets in the world and yet, as in most of Africa too, the region’s ongoing struggle with endemic corruption is surprisingly absent from the agendas of international airfreight conferences, writes Thelma Etim.

Watchdog Transparency International has unveiled the 10 corruption plagues of Mexican society as: bribery, misappropriation of public funds, abuse of power, embezzlement, collusion, conspiring to commit corrupt acts, trafficking of influences, obstruction of justice, misuse of privileged information and nepotism.

Not surprisingly, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report also reveals that the problem is one of the main factors hindering progress in the development of Mexico’s transport infrastructure and logistics sector.

Why are IATA, ICAO and TIACA turning a blind eye to it?

Despite this mass of researched evidence, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in a corporate statement, recently publicly backed the construction of Mexico City’s new US$13billion airport – but failed to even mention the ongoing controversy surrounding the mammoth project and its possible links with bad practices in Mexican society.

IATA, along with so many other air cargo conference organisers, appear to have blind eyes to the problems.

Below are some of the main reasons why the airfreight and logistics industries continue to be vulnerable:

  • Air cargo businesses are reluctant to share their experiences regarding bribery and corruption in global supply chains
  • Corruption is not even on the agenda of airfreight conferences held annually around the world
  • Major international air transport bodies, such as IATA, ICAO, TIACA and Airports Council International (ACI), have refused to take the lead in openly discussing the ways bribery and corruption infiltrates airfreight supply chains across the world. This is despite the fact that organisations like the WEF shine a spotlight on the issue
  • The air cargo industry is reluctant to be more transparent about its operations in certain countries. This is despite anti-corruption agencies like Trace International and Transparency International providing evidence of the corruption that is rife in major global air cargo markets
  • Some air cargo companies believe having an anti-corruption mission statement published on their website will be sufficient to save them from prosecution. But more and more high-profile international court cases show this is not the case.

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