Alang has become a major worldwide centre for ship breaking and considered as the largest ship recycling yard in the world. To know more about the history of ship recycling, we have to travel back to the inception point.
The ships have always been valuable and even after being recycled, when they are not seaworthy. World War II left huge amount of steel locked up warships and cargo ships. These ships were when scrapped, yielded in million tonnes of high quality of steel. After the war was over the ship scrapping continued and the Ship Building Industry shifted eastwards in the 1970s, so did the scrapping industry. Taiwan was the principal destination, until an explosion and fire on board near residential area killed and injured many lives. Due to a huge public outcry the ship scrapping industry moved overnight.
Exactly in the same period, Alang, which is located on Coast of Gulf of Cambay, on the West Coast of India, experienced its first major growth spurt in scrapping.
The first vessel – MV KOTA TENJONG was beached at Alang on 13th Feb, 1983. Since then, the yard has witnessed spectacular growth and has emerged as a leading Ship Breaking Yard in the world.
Ever since its inception, Alang dominates the ship breaking industry in India.
The ship recycling industry has during the year 2011-12 processed 415 ships amounting to 3.86 Million tonnes, the similar trend is likely to be maintained this year also. This industry provides direct employment to the tune of 50,000 workers and indirect employment to lakhs of workers, by way of re-rolling mills, scrap traders, oxygen gas plants, transporters, real estate market and money market.
This industry produces 4 million tonnes of steel without replenishing natural resources like, iron ore, coal etc., in comparison to steel produced by integrated steel plants. The ship recycling industry is known as a green and eco-friendly industry.
The major producing centres for steel are situated in eastern part of the country. Hence, the total production of steel in the eastern part is not fully demanded there at. Resultantly, the eastern part has to stretch to the demand of western part of the country. In order to resolve this situation the steel generated from ship recycling activities is of superior quality and is capable enough to meet the demand of western part. Thus, the regional balance of demand and supply of steel and transportation cost will be resolved.
In the view of the above when the ship recycling activity offers employment to lakhs of people directly and indirectly and crores of rupees by way of revenue to the ex-chequers of state and nation as well, it is humble suggestion that the full infrastructure and amenities should be accorded to, by State Government and Central Government.
• High inter-tidal gradient and flat surface enables the ship to beach right at the shore during high tide and when the tide recedes the ship stands almost at a dry-dock.
• Since the beach consists of stones and hard clay, the heavy items do not sink in the mud.
• As Alang is sheltered from high velocity winds or excessive humid conditions, ship recycling is a perennial activity.
• Larger ships can come straight in to the shore.
• This reduces the total working time on each ship.
• There is a layer of hard rock just beneath the sand, thus danger of subsoil decontamination is ruled out.
• One of the largest tidal ranges of over 11mtrs can take vessels of any draft.
Capacity of the plot at the yard :
In terms of GMB policy of 2006, the efficiency of each plot is required to break at least 10000 LDT as per revival package within the period of 5 years. However, a plot having 30 meters waterfront can recycle approximately 25000-30000 tones in a year, whereas larger plots have comparatively higher tonnage capacity.
Ship breaking industry is Labour intensive, the survival of the ship breaking depends on the availability of Labour and there is little scope of machinery.
Thus, Ship breakers need very little sunk capital or physical assets. The highest costs are the interest on working capital and rent towards the beach area.
The industry generates 300 employment (Direct Labour) opportunities per plot in the ship breaking yard.