Shiprec EU-CHINA
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Project Overview

China’s ship recycling started in early 1960s, and it has been developing very fast in the past two decades. China two times was world leader in ship recycling in terms of demolished gross tonnage (in 1993 and 2003), before draping to lower market share in 2005. Shipbreaking is developing very fast in China, given to the reasons of (1) shiprecycling could provide a big amount of secondary materials and China is seriously lacking of resources, (2) ship recycling could create lots of employees, (3) ship recycling could avoid pollution from the end-of-life ships and protect marine and river environment. However shipbreaking creates also many environmental problems, in particular it is generating lots of hazardous wastes and discharges of pollutants, e.g. waste oils, heavy metals and other toxic substances.

For improving the environmental and safety performance of the ship recycling sector, China has made great efforts that resulted in a number of good practices of how to effectively apply the sustainable production approaches in the ship recycling sector. The following two practices are recommended and are to be tested and disseminated:

(1) Pre-treatment system that requires the cooperation between end-of-life ship providers and ship recyclers for pre-treating dangerous, toxic, harmful substances, heavy metals and goods before the ship can really go into the dismantling process, and

(2) Involving the third-party inspection (TPI) that requires an Independent organization who should be qualified in doing Inspections in the whole dismantling process.


Both the pre-treatment system and third-party inspection have been demonstrated in a limited number of ship recyclers and have been proven effective and efficient for sustainable ship recycling. However, the existing good practices have neither been replicated adequately nor spread widely by ship recyclers, mainly due to the lack of stakeholders networking and the value-chain co-operations. A lack of technical guidelines, procedures and effective management tools (e.g. waste tracking system, effective Inspection, checking and monitoring system, information sharing among stakeholders) is a key issue for the sustainable development of the ship recycling sector In China.

The action intends to improve both resource efficiency and pollution control. Both aspects are of high relevance for the sector as

  • Resource efficiency, reflecting higher amount and better quality of recyclable materials will lead to improved economic competitiveness of the sector.
  • Pollution control will be subject to regulations and the preparation for compliance with further rules strengthening the sector as well.
  • Improvement of the OHS conditions (e.g. reduction of work accidents) improves the economic sustainability of the sector.

The overall objective of the action is to improve the sustainability of ship recycling in China. As a result, emissions from the certified ship recyclers sector (waste oil, heavy metals, persistent organic compounds) shall be reduced by 10% in the 2nd year and by 30% in the 3rd year of the action.

This project is funded by the European Union. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.