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Will India finally fix its shipbreaking problem?

India plans to adopt a new ship recycling law to match global standards, the Economic Times reports. This move would make it the 14th country to support the Hong Kong Convention.

India handled nearly five million gross tonnage in 2018, roughly a quarter share of the world’s ship recycling industry. India remains the biggest shipbreaking market, with the Alang-Sosiya shipbreaking yard in Gujarat handling at least 450 ships every year. 

By making the country’s ship recycling sector more environmentally sound, the government expects to increase ship recycling capacity by 2024 to more than nine million gross tonnage.

According to India’s shipping ministry, an important goal of its five-year plan is to acquire more ships from developed countries. ‘Improved legislation will allow us to have ships come in from countries like Japan and Korea to be recycled at our shipbreaking yards,’ government officials have stated. They acknowledge they are under extra pressure because countries are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of low-tech beaching operations, as well as major violations of worker safety.

Meanwhile, Allied Shipbroking says the global ship recycling market is experiencing a typical ‘sluggish’ summer period. It notes there have been ‘just a handful of transactions’ during the past few days. At the moment, the market in the Indian sub-continent is ‘rather bearish’.

It adds that buyers in Bangladesh appear preoccupied with their high inventory, India is losing ground because of the downward spiral of local steel plate prices while Pakistan is ‘lacking drive’ to make the most of its leading position.

‘It remains to be seen whether Turkey can take this opportunity to narrow its pricing gap,’ Allied Shipbroking says. It expects the market to remain ‘lacklustre’ for the next couple of weeks or so.

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