22 January 2012

Noncompliance of environ-friendly recycling rules threaten shipbreaking industry:

Noncompliance of environment-friendly recycling rules and dearth of skilled manpower may pose a threat to the existence of the country's emerging shipbreaking industry in the long-run, experts say.

"The policy formulated by the government focusing environment friendly recycling remained a far cry to implement," Dr Shahriar Iqbal, professor of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), told the FE.

Dr Iqbal also said another setback in the potential foreign currency earning sector is unskilled workforce which may discourage ship owners to recycle their ships in Bangladesh.

He said China, the emerging largest world economy, is going to expand green ship recycling facilities considering its potential which certainly will hamper the growing industry here if the government fails to support local initiatives.

Bangladeshi ship recycling industry represents more than a quarter of the world's recycling capacity and the country is considered very important for the world's maritime transport.

"Now we are hopeful about the growth of the industry as the government has taken some effective measures including formulation of the green recycling rules and regulations," said Capt Salahuddin Ahmed, Technical Advisor, Bangladesh Ship Breakers' Association.

Regrettably, existing workforce needs more training on their respective practical field for long term betterment of the industry, Mr Ahmed added.

Mr Iqbal said that the government should upgrade this industry into safe and environment-friendly and efficient ship recycling industry trough employing a skilled workforce to rescue the sector from rivals' threats.

He suggested that the government should employ more naval architects and marine engineers in the sector especially who have education and research background earned from reputed institutions like BUET to improve overall situation of existing shipbreaking practice.

Only an efficient work force can attract global attention to make the nation a leading country in the emerging forex earning industry through upgrading itself as a safe and environment-friendly and economically viable recycling industry, he added.

He said that the proposed Ship Building and Ship Recycling Board (SBSRB) needs to carry out detailed analysis on improvement of the beaching methods with a mandate to evolve recycling methods targeting zero waste and zero accident and a very efficient management.

The industry will help enhance economic growth and support development for local and regional community through providing large scale employment, he said, adding, more than 350 re-rolling mills have been using ship scraps as their raw materials while another 100 shipyards directly or indirectly benefit from the scraps.

The industry is currently supplying more than 60% of the raw materials for local steel industry. Besides, local shipbuilding industry also largely depends on this as raw materials mostly are being used from scrap steel, the ship expert informed.

Quoting report findings, the expert said that around 50,000 people are directly involved with the shipbreaking industry while another 0.1 million people are involved indirectly, and the figure is increasing.

He expressed that there also important economic benefit to the economies of our country through the recycling of steel, wood, machinery and equipment that would otherwise have to be imported.

A good number of local industries including heavy and light engineering already been developed depending on shipbreaking industry, he said.

Quoting a report that in 2010 the world fleet of ships over 500 GT was around 56,000 ships while the fleet over 3,000 GT was around 32000 ships, the naval expert informed.

He said that a realistic average life-span of a ship presently is 30 years and thus on an average around 1800 ships of over 500 GT or 1000 ships over 3000 GT need to be recycled each year.

Bangladesh, India and Pakistan provide some 65% of recycling capacity through tidal beaching where China provides 31% alone and Turkey only 2%, he added.

Source: The Financial Express. By Khairul Islam. 21 January 2012

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