Markets - Recycling - Re-adjusting pricing expectations

Sep 13 2019

The summer malaise continued for another week in the major recycling locations.

Muted demand, declining offerings and fundamentals that continue to take a toll on respective local sentiments, were blamed, GMS said in its weekly report.

In the sub-continent, India remained the lowest placed market, due to the Rupee’s recent 2% depreciation, which declined to over Rs. 72 against the US Dollar but was around Rs. 71.60 last week.

This came at a time when the Rupee was trading around the Rs. 69 mark a few weeks ago and when local steel plate prices collapsed by about $75 per tonne. Both of these fundamentals were the primary reasons behind the poor pricing and weak sentiments seen.

In Pakistan, cheap billets from Iran continued to undercut local plate prices, resulting in accumulating inventories at the country’s yards. A similar situation has also been brewing in Bangladesh, as Chinese imports suppressed local plate levels.

Steel plate prices remained under pressure across the sub-continent, as recyclers with inventories at local yards struggled to shift the units at anywhere near breakeven levels.

Even Turkish Recyclers were hit by declining plate prices, as levels fell rapidly last week, resulting in a lessening interest with plummeting local offerings. 

However, the one saving grace for all the recycling markets has been the dearth of tonnage supply, as firming charter rates across all sectors, accompanied by lower scrap prices, now in the mid $300s per ldt (mid-$250s per ldt in Turkey), failed to tempt owners with older vessels to sell.

How much longer this will last with 2020 around the corner, remained to be seen, GMS said.

There remains hope that post monsoon, as the fourth quarter progresses and inventory starts to shift from local yards, prices should start to stabilise and recover. Although the levels seen in the mid (and higher) $400s per ldt are not likely to return.

For the time being, end buyers, cash buyers and shipowners are having to re-adjust their pricing expectations for any of the expensive unsold inventory, despite layup and trading options presenting themselves on various vessels, GMS concluded.

In another report, according to local Indian media, two workers died recently on the Alang shipbreaking beach, India. Two separate accidents took place at well-known scrapyards that have applied to be included in the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities.

On 29th July, a 50 year old man lost his life at Priya Blue yard - Plot V1, while on 3rd September, due to an explosion during cutting operations, one worker died and another was severely injured at Shree Ram yard - Plot 78/81. The latter incident is under police investigation.

“We expect transparency on the causes of these fatalities, and that both the yards and owners of the vessels upon which the accidents occurred are held to account,” said Ingvild Jenssen, NGO Shipbreaking Platform executive director.

Last year, at least 14 workers died at the Alang shipbreaking yards. However, the exact number of fatalities is not available as local authorities do not share information — moreover, serious injuries are rarely recorded, and occupational diseases, such as cancer, respiratory and skin diseases, are not documented at all, the NGO claimed.

Both Priya Blue and Shree Ram plots [1] were amongst the first yards to obtain a Statement of Compliance from Japanese class society ClassNK. Recently, they were inspected by the European Commission to assess whether they comply with the requirements laid out in the EU Ship Recycling Regulation.

Site inspection reports highlighted a series of deficiencies related to the cutting operations in the inter-tidal zone, downstream waste management, medical facilities and labour laws, which were published earlier this year, the NGO claimed.

As a consequence, the yards, despite significant pressure from industry stakeholders, were not included in the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities. New inspections, also of additional yards, are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

In August, the Indian Courts directed an environmental audit of the shipbreaking activities in Alang with a specific focus on the impacts of the beaching method. The directions were given in an appeal filed by Indian environmental group Conservation Action Trust (CAT), following an initial approval to expand the Alang shipbreaking area. The approval was issued despite government reports identifying the beaching method as the most polluting method, the NGO alleged.

Meanwhile, brokers have reported that the 1999-built shuttle tanker ‘Dan Eagle’ had been sold for recycling to undisclosed interests.


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