India’s shipbreaking tonnages in March continued to lag from the prior year amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and an expected lockdown. Shipbreaking tonnage at Alang fell to 45,918ldt, down 50pc from February and 40pc from March 2020, according to GMS data.
In March, Bangladesh’s shipbreaking tonnage was 251,393ldt, down by 29pc from February but up 92pc from March 2020. Shipbreaking activity in Bangladesh was supported by stable demand from mills and rising prices of imported ferrous scrap. Pakistan’s intake rose by 318pc from February to 92,834ldt in March.
Recyclers in Bangladesh topped shipbreaking volumes in the subcontinent with 31 ships reaching Chittagong in March, while 9 and 12 ships beached at Alang and Gadani port, respectively. Higher iron ore prices and improved steel demand in China encouraged Bangladesh ship recyclers to increase vessel bookings, while lower steel demand and subdued steel prices held back Indian and Pakistani buyers.
In April, recyclers in the subcontinent are struggling with the surge of COVID-19 infections. Last week and early this week, ship scrap prices are trending up in India amid tight supply from yards. Yards in Alang are working at full capacity but new restrictions and night curfews are in place to control the virus, which is hindering the movement of workers in Gujarat. The government is also taking measures to vaccinate more people above 45 years of age to reduce the risk of the virus and ensure safe workplaces.
Although a week-long nationwide lockdown is imposed in Bangladesh yards and other allied industries are operating at full capacity. But a possibility of further restrictions to control the spread of the virus could impact steel demand and lower demand for ship scrap in both India and Bangladesh.