This week, Fondazione SAFE hosted the 2-days kick-off meeting of Project POSEIDON (Ports United Against Corruption) at its headquarters in Soave, Verona. The Kick-Off Meeting was attended by all POSEIDON Consortium partners, with representatives from ECORYS, the University of Ghent, the University of Murcia and the Democritus University of Thrace, with the online attendance of POSEIDON Project Officer from the European Union.

The project – funded through the European Commission ISF programme – aims to assess vulnerabilities to corruption in the supply chain system of major EU ports. Its overall objective is to establish an EU Network of public-private stakeholders composed of governmental stakeholders (port management authorities, customs authorities, etc.), relevant (private) port stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, and research institutes and networks to fill existing gaps in research on corruption in ports, develop targeted port integrity/risk assessment tools, and foster inter-port dialogue.

Throughout the KoM, the consortium discussed the methodology of implementation and critical actions to be taken to narrow down the research and more effectively tackle the corruption at seaports, looking specifically at the vulnerabilities within the supply chain. Also, the stakeholder’s engagement strategy was defined to create a Public-Private network, comprising Law Enforcement Agencies, Customs, Port Authorities and Academia, allowing the exchange of good/best practices.

The kick-off meeting follows the invitation to present POSEIDON at the 5th Core Group Meeting of the ISF4@ON project in Brussels; @ON is coordinated by the Italian Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate and supported by EUROPOL and EuItalia. The purpose of @ON is to strengthen transnational LEA cooperation against top-level OCGs and mafia-style affecting the EU MSs. This Core Group Meeting focused on corruption and trafficking in ports and harbours, allowing Poseidon to benefit from a fruitful exchange with more than 20 representatives from 10 countries (EU member states and Third Parties).

The importance of POSEIDON and the topic addressed is also emphasized by the report recently published by EUROPOL “Criminal Networks in EU Ports – Risks And Challenges for Law Enforcement”; the report was prepared by Europol and the Security Steering Committee of the ports of Antwerp, Hamburg/Bremerhaven and Rotterdam, presenting some of the main methods used by criminal networks to bypass security at EU ports and conduct illicit activities, including a focus on new methods.

We are pleased to have met all the partners that attended the event and stimulated extremely interesting and engaging discussions. We are looking forward to starting the implementation to fight corruption in ports. Stay tuned to learn more about the progress and achievements of the project on our official channels!