With COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the globe, all major recycling destinations have stopped operations for more than a week now. Subcontinental ship recycling yards in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have denied entry to all ships until Apr 15 amid the COVID-19 lockdown. All operations inside yards have been halted with shipbreakers adopting a wait-and-watch approach.
Outlook for shipbreaking industry is bleak as the world focuses on ways to contain the virus. These lockdown measures may be extended further in most countries if the pandemic worsens. As economists fear sustained recession and economic downturn, there is little certainties as to when normalcy will return to the ship breaking industry. In the absence of trades, there were no prices to report for scrapped bulk vessels, containers and tankers. Domestic ship steel plate prices were also unobtainable as there were no bids or offers
Bangladesh – The government extended the virus lockdown until Apr 14 from the initial deadline of Apr 7. A lot of vessels are stuck outside Chattogram port waiting for permission. All beachings activities are postponed until the last tide of April (at the very least). If lockdown is pushed further, then beaching activity could easily slip further into the first tide of May.
India – Many casual workers have already returned to their hometowns in the wake of the 21-day lockdown. All ships heading for recycling have been denied entry into Alang coastline until Apr 14.
Pakistan – Pakistan too has a virus lockdown. All ships for demolition are being turned away or denied entry. Gadani shipbreaking yards have been comparatively quiet for almost two years. Shipbreaking activity was expected to return just before the virus outbreak hit the market. Now there is no clarity as to when shipbreakers can resume operations in Gadani.
Turkey – Domestic steel plate prices dropped sharply as the Turkish Lira depreciated to TRY6.75 mark against the US dollar. Prices fell to a low of $200/mt for Turkey-based recyclers, far below the subcontinental price levels. Stringent procedures for riding crew, who are not allowed to disembark the ships has caused concerns for ship deliveries here.