Geographical Advantages
  • Alang has a very high inter-tidal gradient. This enables the ship to beach right at the shore during high tide and when the tide recedes the ship stands almost at a dry-dock. This not only makes work easy but also makes easy in terms of collecting the valuables and the waste items from the sand. Usually heavy items are dropped into the sea-water during high tide and this minimizes damage.
  • Due to high tidal gradient, larger ships can come straight into the shore. This reduces the total working time on each ship.
  • Since the beach is sandy, the heavy items do not sink in the mud and similarly the hazardous waste matter such as paint and other heavy metal and other deposits do not leach into the soil.
  • The rainfall is mild and work can be carried out throughout the year.
  • Since Alang is sheltered from high velocity winds or excessive humid conditions, ship recycling is a perennial activity and safe.
  • There is a layer of hard rock just beneath the sand and this prevents rainwater and even seawater from seeping into the subsoil. Thus the danger of subsoil contamination is ruled out.
  • Sometimes there is danger of seawater pouring into the rivers when the latter run dry. The rivers that flow into the Gulf of Cambay are Pasvivali and Manar. Both are seasonal but since the land is at a substantial height from the sea, the seawater cannot seep into these rivers during the lean season. The only perennial river Shetrunji too is protected from the intrusion of seawater.
  • Due to the relatively moderate rainfall and shelter from strong tides and winds and also because of the absence of rocks around the area, the Alang yard can recycle smaller ships easily. Therefore, the numbers of ships that can come to this yard are many. In contrast, Gaddani in Pakistan and Chittagong in Bangladesh have strong winds and strong tides respectively and hence they can only demolish very large vessels. Chinese seacoast has typhoons all through the monsoon season and hence ship recycling cannot go throughout the year in an uninterrupted manner.
  • The local population consists of small farmers who are settled in small hamlets. Had the local population been pastoral who would need large grazing grounds or fisher folk like the kholis in Mumbai port area, Alang would not have obtained the freedom to expand the way in which it has done.