Skip to main content

Chinese competition: Gujarat's Alang, touted as Asia's biggest shipbreaking yard, witnesses 50% fall in business in a year

By Our Representative
According to reports from Gujarat's Alang, touted by the state officialdom as Asia's biggest shipbreaking yard, the number of active plots which take up ship recycling in order to extract steel and other economically useful material has fallen by 50 per cent over the last one year. Worse, the number of vessels which beached at Alang for ship recycling dropped to the six-year old of 275, with just about 54 ships reaching the yard over the last three months.
The reason, say knowledgeable sources, is that the shipbreaking industry has lately been badly hit by a flood of cheap Chinese steel, on one hand, and new European Union (EU) environmental rules, which require not to send ships to recycling yards which do not comply with the norms set for workers' safety, on one hand, and environmental cleanliness, on the other.
"The European Commission's intention is said to be not to discourage vessel owners from using facilities outside of the EU but to discourage ship owners from using facilities which have proven to present very real danger to life and the general environment. Five people were killed and 10 injured after an explosion in a chemical tanker being dismantled in Alang last year
The European Commission will reportedly introduce tougher environmental controls some time after December. While not specifically banning beach scrapping, owners of ships registered in EU countries will have to scrap them at approved facilities, a move that could favour countries such as China and Turkey where ships are taken apart in docks.
Despite the fact that China's economy has slowed down, its steel exports soared 51 percent to a record 93.78 million tonnes last year. Even this year, the steel exports have gone up by nearly 30 per cent in the first five months of 2015. In the meanwhile, more modern yards in are coming up in China and Turkey, which are competing "polluting" and "unsafe" Alang and other yards in the South Asian region.
Ships sold to Alang, along with other recycling yards in Pakistan and Bangladesh, till now have controlled about 70 per cent of the market. Most of the ships in these countries, which reach the beach during high tide, are manually pulled by by labourers, mainly migrants, further into the yard.
Equipment, such as radars, engines - and even tables and chairs - is taken off and sold, while the steel from the hull is removed for scrap.
Alang has been providing employment to 60,000 workers, mainly migrants from other parts of India, with thousands more being in the job in spin-off businesses. While once the the 11 km road which takes one to Alang -- controlled by the state regulatory agency, Gujarat Maritime Board -- used to be extremely busy with trucks till a year ago, it is deserted now, with shops displaying everything from crockery to computers taken off the ships struggling to get supplies.
Truck drivers who used to make from five to seven trips a day to Alang do not get more than two calls a day for taking scrap from Alang now. And, with a sharp fall in steel prices, shipowners are getting about $3.6 million less for the 25,000 tonnes of recoverable metal from a typical iron ore or coal carrying ship than what they got a year ago.
The situation is not very different at the shipbreaking yard at Karachi, where the situation has been described as the worst in the last three decades. And the story in Bangladesh is similar. Three years ago there were about 80 yards, now they are down to 25 at Chittagong. Local shipbreakers are quoted as saying that everyone thought prices would improve, but now they are sitting on huge inventories.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.