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India to augment its ship demolition capacity

The country which lost its top spot in the vessel dismantling charts in 2021 is trying to turn the tides

Despite having the largest shipbreaking yard in world, India failed to top the charts for ship demolition nations in 2021. Lack of infrastructure and non-compliance towards international standards were attributed to its lacklustre performance.

Compliance with international standards
The Indian Ministry of Maritime Affairs requested an increase of 60 per cent in the budget negotiations for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, for the purpose of doubling the capacity of Alang Shipyard in Gujarat. Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Finance Minister announced in the Budget for 2021-22 that the government will double Alang’s ship recycling capacity to around 4.5 million light displacement tonnes (ldt) by 2024. A sum of Rs 100 crore was allocated as assistance to shipbuilding, research and development in the budget last year. Unfortunately, work was hindered when the second wave of COVID-19 struck.

An official pointed out Alang’s shipbreaking decline included non-compliance with international standards on pollution plus marine and manpower safety, which became a concern with European clientele. “If modern technology standards are adopted in Alang, it will open the international market once again,” he commented.

Officials said that 90 yards at Alang are now certified compliant with international standards for green recycling. They were also working to adopt modern standards of downstream waste management. Alang has around 160 plots, out of which around 140 were allotted for shipbreaking activities while the other plots are mainly used for storage. The government was looking to add 15 new plots to the existing capacity at Alang during 2022-23 and operationalise by 2024. Measures will be taken to woo both European and Japanese shipowners, such as incorporating more modern equipment and upgrading facilities.

India’s Ship Recycling Industries Association disclosed that around 2.6 million ldt were handled at Alang this fiscal, compared to the 1.63 million in 2019-20 and 2 million in 2020-21. Data from the NGO Shipbreaking Platform in Belgium revealed 763 vessels and floating offshore units were sold to the scrap yards in 2021. Of these, 583 went to Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, nearly the total of gross tonnage dismantled globally. Between Q1 and Q3 2021, 582 ships were scrapped worldwide, of which 197 (34 per cent) were in Bangladesh. India has the potential to regain its edge against Bangladesh if plans go smoothly.

Marine Online News Team
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