Revival of shipbreaking industry at Gadani

Gadani, an otherwise sleepy coastal stretch located at comfortable distance from Karachi, shot to international prominence in the early 1980s as the biggest ship-breaking yard anywhere in the world not so long ago.
But with the onset of excessive taxation, other countries in the region providing a substitute and high vessel prices which deemed them unaffordable for the local ship breakers, made the future of this industry uncertain. Local ship breakers said discontinuation of ship breaking activity had made around 7,000 labour unemployed. Other industries such as hundreds of steel re-rolling and re-melting mills which owe their very existence to the ship-breaking industry also suffered. Other scrap products taken off the ships such as washing machines, air conditioners and fridges etc made their way to Jackson Market where they were sold for peanuts.
These industries have yet a reason for optimism as four ships of 100,000 tons were recently anchored at Gadani for breaking. On the one hand this will mean a source of income for those unemployed over the past years. Environmentalists however are concerned about marine pollution. They claim that the industry has been the biggest source of heavy metal pollution in the area. In addition, waste oils, bilge oils, and other waste products are discharged directly into the inter-tidal area on the beach at sea front.

6 Comments so far

  1. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 18th, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    discuss the fire that broke out in PNSC building…!

    multistory building and administration is helpless to
    do some thing about the fire… all the snorkels in the city are out of order (they’re just good enough to be used in MQM election campaign to sprinkle rose petals at the MQM supporters) … we’re talking about building skyscrappers and we don’t have any adequate system to tackle small fire outbreaks at high altitude…. best they’re able to manage is Navy helpcopters using their rotors (wings) to create enough air pressure to put out the fire… instead that tactic could back fire and lead to fire spreading… may Allah help us…

  2. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 18th, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

    snorkels in the city are out of order (they’re just good enough to be used in MQM election campaign to sprinkle rose petals at the MQM supporters)

    Now city Nazim will come up with some lame excuses to hide his ignorance.

  3. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 18th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm
  4. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 18th, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

    Minister for port and shipping Baber Gauri’s office is among those which is gutted, besides Nespak and PNSC office…. i can already smell foul play coz initialy fire was under control and then it re erupted and engulfed the whole floors again… one of the most corrupt minister’s office gutted like that means no record left to unearth his corruption… just see how much excited Altaf is when he issues statement regarding this incident…

  5. Lies (unregistered) on February 19th, 2007 @ 12:19 am

    About the shipbreaking, I was watching a documentary on the BBC regarding shipbreaking in Pakistan and India. Apparently, the ships contain a lot of toxic chemicals, harming workers and the environment (water sources, etc.) Needless to say the companies involved remain unchecked.


  6. Adnan (unregistered) on February 19th, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

    Its good to know that the industry can hope for some better times but being close to some people associated with the industry, I think its got a long way to go before we can actually call it a revival. First of all, there is not even close to 100,000 tonnes. As a matter of fact there is a few lousy ships (weighing between 8-12000 tonnes each) present there, maybe two or three. This volume is nothing compared to the previous times when there were about 50 active shipbreakers with an average tonnage of 40,000 tonnes each per year.Talk about pollution, has anyone ever imagined the amount of revenue the government used to get from this industry. The reason for failure of this industry is not just the taxes but large volumes of smuggled steel that is brought in from the borders. Pollution, no doubt is a hazard but for a country that doesnt have food to feed, should be more worried about employment and revenue than clean beaches.

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