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India plans to double Alang shipbreaking capacity

The Indian authorities have introduced a set of measures, including a National Authority for Recycling of Ships (NARS) to expand the Alang shipbreaking yard, ensure compliance with regulations, and ramp up the generation of domestic ferrous scrap.

India’s Director General of Shipping (DGS), has mandated NARS to ensure a sustainable development of the shipbreaking industry with governance and regulations aligned to the Hong Kong Convention (HKC). NARS will be based at Gandhinagar in Gujarat and close to Alang, home to the world’s largest shipbreaking yard.

The move has been prompted by the European Commission  (EC) announcing it would not include any ship recycling facilities from non-OECD countries in list of approved facilities.

‘The creation of NARS is from the same playbook of government’s announced plans to double ship-breaking capacity at Alang by 2024,’ a spokesperson for the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) told Recycling International.

‘The capacity at Alang would be doubled by adding 15 new plots to the existing 153 yards. Of the total number of yards at Alang only 48% are currently being used for shipbreaking and the government plans to facilitate bringing in more vessels from Europe and Japan and increasing capacity utilisations of the yards,’ he said.

According MoS data, 415 ships totalling 3.85 million light displacement tonnage (LDT -weight  without cargo and fuel) had arrived at Alang in 2011-12, the only year when its full capacity of 4.5 million LDT was utilised.

By 2019-20, this was down to 202 ships aggregating 1.62 million LDT while in the first nine months of the current year, the total is 1.8 million LDT.

This decline in vessels for dismantling is largely owing to the EU blocking ships for dismantling in India because of concerns over non-compliance with international standards.

According to MoS, 90 yards at Alang are certified  for compliance with green recycling standards under HKC but the EU cites a lack of hospitals and proper downstream waste management systems for not include including the yards in its approved list. Twenty ship dismantlers at Alang have submitted fresh applications but say they have had no response from EU authorities.

Establishing NARS to create proper regulatory, compliance and governance for Alang is seen as a necessary precursor to the yards’ expansion plans which are critical to achieving national  targets achieving domestic scrap generation of over 70 million tonnes per annum by 2030. At present shipbreaking operations generate only 2% of total domestic ferrous scrap availability.

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