Recycling International – Experts warn Indian shipbreaking is ‘dying’

(Written by Kirstin Linnenkoper)

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28 July 2015 - India: More than half of the shipbreaking yards at the Alang hub in India have shut down over the past two years owing to the combined pressure of cheap Chinese steel and new environmental regulations in Europe. These factors are continuing to ‘devastate’ local economies, gCaptain has reported.

Shipbreaking operations are being pushed further in the direction of modern yards in China and Turkey, not least because of China’s steel pricing strategy. Although the nation’s economy is slowing, its steel exports soared 51% to a record 93.78 million tonnes in 2014 while its overseas shipments were up nearly 30% in the first five months of this year.

Zahirul Islam, director of PHP Shipbreaking and Recycling Industries in Chittagong, comments: ‘Three years ago, there were about 80 yards; now it’s down to 25. I think another 10-15 yards will go.’ Shoaib Sultan, owner of Horizon Ship Recycling in Karachi, points out: ‘It has always been a cyclical business but people who have been in this industry tell me this is the worst in 30 years.’

And Chintan Kalthia, owner of R.L. Kalthia Ship Breaking, adds: ‘People are running this business from their heart, not from their mind.’ Despite the fact that his yard is breaking the ‘biggest ship’ now being recycled at Alang, his view of the future is bleak. ‘This is my last ship,’ he states. ‘This business is dying.’