Growing environmental and labour concerns in the global ship breaking industry present a desperate need for green compliant ship recycling facilities.
The global ship recycling industry is dominated by ship breaking yards in South East Asia. In 2019, approximately 90% of all obsolete ships ended up on beaches in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. These shipbreaking yards demolish obsolete vessels under rudimentary conditions through a practice termed “beaching”. Beaching inevitably pollutes the ocean and its surroundings and creates unsafe working conditions, as most of the work is done manually.
The demolition of ships is a hazardous and labour-intensive process. It can present great risks to the maritime environment and to the labour rights of its employees if the vessel is not recycled in a safe and sustainable manner. With a combination of changing environmental legislation and increased stakeholder pressure, green compliant facilities that offer competitive vessel purchase prices are gaining increased prominence in the global ship breaking industry. The shift in the industry is further promoted by shipping companies implementing their own internal stringent ship recycling regulations that ensure that their end-of-life vessels are recycled in compliant facilities.
This changing market dynamics will continue to open opportunities for certified green ship recycling facilities in key locations. A great case study is the planned ship recycling facility, 34South, located along the West coast of South Africa in the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. This planned facility offers a prime location for end-of-life vessels passing through the Cape of Good Hope, bypassing the tolls of the Suez Canal.
The 34South facility maintains state-of-the-art equipment by making use of a ship lifting system, ensuring that vessels are decommissioned in an environmentally safe manner compared to the rudimentary method of beaching. This facility will maintain safe working and environmental standards in accordance with the International Ship Breaking laws and regulations, ensuring a green, sustainable, and compliant facility. The ship lifting system will support a common user philosophy and can create economies of scale by accommodating more than one vessel at a time.
The 34South planned facility is supported by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa, as its largest shareholder.