According to new data released by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 443 ocean-going commercial ships and offshore units were sold for scrapping in 2022.
Of these, 292 large tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo- and passenger ships ended up for dirty and dangerous breaking on tidal beaches in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Whilst the South Asian shipbreaking yards experienced the lowest turnover in over a decade, with a significant drop in terms of the number of ships scrapped, they remained the preferred destination for end-of-life vessels, dismantling 80% of the global end-of-life gross tonnage.
The reasons for the plunge in the number of vessels scrapped in 2022 are multiple, with high ocean freight rates that made it profitable to continue operating older vessels and banks’ shortages in providing credits to companies for the purchase of end-of-life assets identified as the main drivers.
Looking ahead, the number of ships that will need to be dismantled is expected to surge. At the same time, the growing focus on circularity and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions provide opportunities to transform the ship recycling sector. Already, forward-looking governments are developing policies to increase access to scrap steel for green steel production, coupling that with measures to encourage the development of sustainable ship recycling capacity.
The European Union’s Green Deal is pushing major steel companies to explore ways of integrating ship recycling in their production line.