“Over the next ten years, from 2023 to 2032, more than 15,000 ships with deadweight capacity of more than 600 million tonnes are expected to be recycled, more than twice the amount recycled in the previous ten years,” says Niels Rasmussen, Chief Shipping Analyst, BIMCO.

As recycling volumes increase, it is increasingly important that the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships is ratified and implemented, says the latest update from BIMCO. The Convention was adopted in 2009 with the aim of reducing risks to human health, safety, and the environment.

“In fact, recycling steel in electric arc furnaces emits significantly less greenhouse gases than the production of crude steel, and as the electricity grid becomes decarbonised, emissions will reduce further. Therefore, ship recycling can continue to play a key role in the circular economy,” says Rasmussen.

India and Turkiye which are two of the largest ship recycling countries, are also major steel producers with a high share of electric arc furnace use, the update added. "During the past five years, these countries have recycled 25 percent and 34 percent of ship deadweight capacity and number of ships, respectively. Along with Bangladesh, the world’s largest ship recycling country, and Pakistan, these top four countries have recycled 96 percent of deadweight capacity and 77 percent of ships during the last five years."

Over the past ten years, 7,780 ships with a deadweight capacity of 285 million tonnes were recycled, the update said. "Most of the deadweight capacity recycled (60 percent) was built during the 1990s. In the next ten years, ships built during the 2000s will be the main source of recycling."

Historically, about 50 percent of bulk, tanker, and container deadweight capacity has been recycled by the time the ships would have been 25 years and 90 percent by 30-35 years. "If we apply this recycling pattern to the currently trading ships, we estimate that 15,000 ships and 600 million deadweight tonnes will be recycled between 2023 and 2032."

Rasmussen says: “Many older ships are expected to be recycled earlier than normal due to the ever-tighter limits on greenhouse gas emissions."

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