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

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk
“Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).