Times of India – Weak steel demand hits Alang yard

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22 August 2013 - RAJKOT: Ship-breakers in Alang, the biggest ship-breaking yard in Asia, are facing a queer situation.

On one hand, their business is booming due to large number of vessels coming for dismantling, while on the other the slowdown in construction sector has resulted in a massive pile-up of steel in the rerolling mills.

The re-rolling mills in Bhavnagar and Sihore that make steel bars and ingots from the dismantled vessel are seeing material piling up in their units.

The demand for steel has plummeted drastically as major infrastructure projects are on hold. Close to 60 lakh tonnes of steel is produced in rolling mills.

This has forced the ship-breakers to shut down the yard on Saturdays and work just six days a week.

“In order to avoid overproduction, we have decided to shut down the yard for one day every week at Alang. We have also cut down daily working hours of labourers,” president of  Sosiya Ship-breakers Association and vice-president of  Ship Recycling Association of India  Ramesh Mendapara said.

Mendapara said that the rolling mills which purchase steels from ship breakers have decided to shut down their units twice a week.

They have also cut down on procurement of materials from ship breakers.

A ship-breaker in Alang Haresh Parmar said, “Vigorous monsoon throughout the country has also affected the transportation of steel as compared to previous years.

We have limited space on our plots to store all material extracted from ship-recycling.”

According to an estimate, Alang ship-recycling industry provides direct employment to 15,000 and indirect employment to nearly 1.5 lakh.

“We are expecting  the situation to ease after monsoon recedes as the construction activity is expected to pick up,” Mendapara added.