Compliance in the maritime sector, fashion or necessity?

There seems no doubt that in recent years the majority of companies have increased their concern about the impact that their processes and activities generate on matters such as the environment, work-life balance or social well-being.

In this way, they have been gradually implementing measures to control and reduce these impacts, in what is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR for friends).

Although most of us have heard of the term compliance without really knowing what the hell that was, this is the way the English-speaking world refers to CSR.

We can affirm that in our legal system these legal provisions regarding the transparency and integrity of organizations have become more relevant. A clear example is Law 10/2010, of April 28, on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism ; Likewise, the Penal Code itself, since its reforms in 2015 and the recent Law 2/2023, of February 20, regulating the protection of people who report regulatory infractions and the fight against corruption, which requires certain entities to have an internal information channel through which irregularities committed within them can be reported.

There are many organizations and companies that in the last decade have integrated the controls provided for by said regulations which, despite not being generally mandatory, ended up implying a competitive difference for those companies that have implemented compliance in their organization, avoiding problematic and enabling tighter and more exhaustive regulatory compliance.

The maritime transport sector is not immune to this approach in order to mitigate the risks and impacts inherent to its activity.

A clear example of CSR is the project being carried out in the port of Rotterdam, the Condor H2 emissions , the purpose of which is to reduce CO 2 through the use of hydrogen as an emission-free fuel, thus guaranteeing, to a certain extent, measure, a sustainable alternative to current transportation.

On the other hand, referring strictly to regulatory compliance, we also find certain revisions of the standards that consequently entail the need to adapt the methods used, as is the case of heterogeneous European regulations on transport in relation to animal welfare.

It should be noted that a traditional problem in the sector has been the plurality of existing legal systems.

Leaving aside the European scene, the biggest problem with this regulatory imbalance focuses on the differences between countries located on the other side of the EU borders, which have different legislation, which ends up posing greater difficulties when it comes to provide for the legality of the actions of companies with geographically dispersed activity, or with interests in different parts of the planet.

This implies that companies dedicated to the transportation of goods must adequately evaluate the matter of compliance through a relatively constant study of regulatory compliance in the development of their activities, not so much to comply with a growing fashion, but as a necessary formula to adapt to the new times and continue surviving.

This is why it is increasingly appropriate and necessary for companies in the sector to have a Compliance department , in order to facilitate and ensure as much as possible the adaptation and legality of their activities, as well as to improve their competitiveness and corporate image.

Author: Andrei Grabriel Secu

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