Eco-Friendly Disassembly Practices in Ship Recycling Market

According to Inkwood Research, the global ship recycling market is set to develop with a CAGR of 3.77% during the forecast period 2024 to 2032. Moreover, the market is projected to capture a revenue of $12132.82 million by 2032. Ship recycling involves dismantling and recycling end-of-life ships to recover valuable materials. This process promotes sustainability and complies with regulations for responsible maritime asset disposal. Ship breaking yards in developing countries efficiently recycle ships, addressing environmental and safety concerns.

Recognized as the fourth pillar of the maritime industry, the ship recycling domain is pivotal for both environmental sustainability and global trade. Economic downturns send surplus ships to ship breaking, while upturns and increased trade extend the service life of aging vessels. The shift to a circular economy elevates innovation in recycling, potentially attracting more funding for eco-friendly ship breaking yards and facilities.

Ship Recycling Market - Inkwood Research

Safety & Sustainable Practices: Ship Recycling Market

  • India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan collectively dominate the global ship recycling market, accounting for over 90% of its share. 
  • India, with 131 operational ship-breaking yards, leads globally with a capacity of 7 million gross tons (GT) annually, equivalent to approximately 4.5 million light displacement tons (LDT).
  • With 90% of Alang yards adhering to HKC Standards, the Indian government actively elevates safety and environmental practices in ship-breaking yards, aligning with the Hong Kong Convention. 
  • Bangladesh, a key player, boasts 60 yards with a 6.8 million GT capacity, significantly contributing to the nation’s steel industry. 
  • Despite significant exchange rate fluctuations affecting Pakistan and Turkey, the stable currencies of Bangladesh and India, coordinated with rising steel prices, contribute to the remarkable performance of their respective ship recycling markets.

Assessment to Execution: Regulatory Framework in Ship Recycling Market

Ship recycling predominantly occurs in developing nations, often due to lenient regulatory enforcement. This lack of oversight can result in the mishandling of hazardous materials and substandard working conditions, leading to pollution from ship breaking activities. The environmental impact extends to air, soil, and water quality, potentially affecting local ecosystems and biodiversity. Areas near ship breaking yards may experience increased pollutants and heavy metals, highlighting the importance of implementing sustainable ship recycling practices.

To address these issues, both national and global regulations have been established. These include the Basel Convention, the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR), and the Hong Kong International Convention (HKC) for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. These regulations cover various aspects, such as assessing a ship’s condition, identifying hazardous materials, developing customized recycling plans, and ensuring the safe and responsible execution of the dismantling process.

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Comparative Analysis of the South Asian Ship Recycling Market

  • Over the next decade, 2023-2032, the recycling of more than 15,000 ships, with a combined deadweight capacity exceeding 600 million tons, is projected—to double the ship dismantling activity of the preceding decade. 
  • Ship breaking yards in the Indian subcontinent are actively modernizing operations, aligning with global guidelines, and investing in advanced technology and infrastructure. 
  • While Bangladesh aims for additional HKC-compliant yards, India already boasts a substantial number, contrasting with Pakistani yards that are yet to embark on the path to HKC compliance. 
  • The imminent ratification of HKC by June 25, 2023, reflects the need for a unified global standard to meet the escalating capacity required for dismantling the multitude of ships expected in the coming years.

As advancements in ship recycling technology progress and applications in maritime sustainability expand, the global demand for efficient and environmentally responsible ship recycling solutions is on the rise. Dedicated efforts towards sustainability, ongoing reliability, and transformative practices are estimated to fuel the ship recycling market growth over the forecast period.


By Rasika Kambli

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    Ship recycling, the meticulous process of dismantling and repurposing components from abandoned vessels, is a stringent and regulated practice aimed at minimizing waste and preventing pollutants from entering the environment. This comprehensive procedure encompasses the safe extraction of hazardous materials and the reuse of valuable components.

    Ship recycling primarily employs four mechanisms: dry docking, pier breaking/alongside, landing/slipway, and beaching.