Lloyd’s List – Surge of business for India breakers

(Written by Brian Reyes)

22 October 2012 - Yards return to work after strike following fatal incident at Alang

INDIAN breakers stormed back into action with a string of deals last week, after a short strike following a fatal incident that killed six workers at an Alang yard.

Breakers downed tools in protest at the arrest of two yard owners and a manager nearly a fortnight ago, on suspicion of culpable homicide.

All three are now on bail, according to local reports, and the yards are back at work after five days on strike.

But despite a surge in activity from India, the week was marred by yet another fatal incident, this time in Pakistan.

The deaths will intensify calls for an industry-wide shake-up of labour safety and environmental standards at shipbreaking yards.

They come at a time of tight yard capacity and plentiful supply of demolition candidates.

The current focus of demolition activity is in India, where breakers made the most of a short-lived hike in the unpredictable value of the rupee to pounce on a number of vessels.

“Alang buyers have used this current spike to pick up several high-priced deals,” said US-based cash buyer GMS.

“With little fight displayed from arch-rivals Bangladesh, most end buyers will see the chance to stock their yards with inventory before the year is out.

“Whether the market — or indeed, the currency — holds is another question entirely. Surely if the supply continues at such a furious pace, it is only a matter of time before plain old demand and supply factors kick in and prices retreat once again.”