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Alang Ship Recycling Industry Faces Historic Low Activity

Alang Ship Recycling Industry Faces Historic Low Activity

Alang Ship Recycling Industry Faces Historic Low Activity

The shipbreaking industry in Alang, India, is experiencing a period of significant slowdown. This industry is vital to the economic well-being of Bhavnagar, and the current situation is causing uncertainty.

Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

  • Rock Bottom Numbers: Only 125 ships arrived at Alang for scrapping in the entire year 2023-24, the lowest number in 19 years. This is a sharp drop from the peak of 415 ships received in 2011-12.
  • Slowdown Throughout the Year: The average arrival rate of 25 ships per month has plummeted. In March 2024, a mere 5 ships reached Alang for breaking. October 2023 saw the highest activity with 19 vessels. There were even 7 months with less than 10 ship arrivals.
  • Limited Activity: Currently, only 27 plots (work areas) are operational in Alang, highlighting the reduced workload.

Reasons Behind the Slowdown

The report doesn’t mention definitive causes, but hints at a potential regulatory hurdle:

  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Regulation: Using steel plates from dismantled ships as raw material in re-rolling mills is currently restricted by BIS regulations. This might discourage ship owners from sending their vessels to Alang for scrapping.

Potential Solutions

The article proposes a possible solution:

  • Relaxing BIS Rules: If the BIS restrictions are eased, it could revitalize the industry. Recycled steel plates from Alang could become a valuable resource for re-rolling mills, reducing reliance on iron ore and potentially addressing raw material shortages.

Alang’s Historical Significance

Despite the current slump, the report acknowledges Alang’s historical importance:

  • Over 4 Decades of Operation: Since its inception in 1982-83, Alang has processed and dismantled over 8,242 ships.

Uncertain Future

The article concludes with an uncertain outlook for the industry:

  • Industry Needs Support: The Ship Recycling Industries Association (SRIA) vice-president acknowledges government efforts to support the industry but emphasizes the need for further measures to revive activity.

Overall, the ship-breaking industry in Alang is facing a critical challenge. Resolving the BIS regulation and potentially implementing other supportive measures could be crucial for its recovery.

The ship recycling industry, the economic lifeblood of Bhavnagar, is going through a period of uncertainty and less than 70 ships have broken up in the sea in 19 years.

In the 42 years since its inception in 1982-83, Alang has seen 8,242 ships broken up so far. The number of plots was small for the first 10 years, then expanded and the number of ships and the industry took a hit. During the year 2011-12, 415 ships came up for scrapping and their total weight was 38,47,381 MT. Earlier in the year 2005-06 only 101 ships arrived. Thus the lowest number of ships in 19 years is 125 ships during the year 2023-24 weighing 9,44,872.94 metric tons.

While an average of 25 ships per month used to make their final journey to Alang, only 5 ships came to break up there in March 2024. During 2023-24, the highest number of ships arrived in October 2023 with 19 vessels weighing 1,60,527.15 MT. There have been 7 months during this financial year when the number of ships has not even reached double digits. With only 27 plots currently undergoing ship-breaking operations in Alang, according to Rameshbhai Mendpara, vice-president of Ship Recycling Industries Assoc., it is difficult to say when the ship recycling industry will pick up again, possibly with all the help the government can get to shore up the industry. And have tried.

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