As you all know I just returned from a 10 day trip to the ship breaking yards of Bangladesh. It was my first in-person trip there to meet my suppliers and see the actual salvage yards. The purpose of my trip was to get a gauge on how much inventory there is available. My suppliers have been telling me that it’s getting harder to source copper and brass nautical items as the ships being scrapped are getting newer. We have had trouble in the last two years between the shipping problems and the changes in inventory availability. There are 120 ship salvage companies in Bangladesh and usually hundreds of ships being scrapped at any given time. Unfortunately on my trip, there is a Presidential election happening in January and ships have stopped coming into the scrap yards during this period. Therefore, it was hard for me to get a feeling on actual inventory levels. My suppliers assure me that there are years worth of good items left on ships that have not come in yet. I will have a better feeling in the spring of 24 when the ships return.
Regardless, I was able to make some great buys of original items such as anchors, ship wheels, bulkhead lights, chain, ship ladder and more. In all I have a few thousand items coming in on two different shipments destined for our warehouse in February. You may have already seen some of the items that I bought. I was able to make three different large purchases from three separate suppliers specializing in different items. I did in fact see the entry of some plastic and more aluminum items than we have seen before. An indication that the ships might actually be getting newer. As you can imagine, as time went on the shipbuilders realized that they could save money and weight by not using brass and copper and instead turning to plastic and resins. There will be a time somewhere down the road that the brass and copper nautical items that we love will no longer be available.
Big Ship Salvage will continue to offer authentic nautical items as long as we will be around. But as the landscape changes we will evaluate our business practices and make the necessary adjustments to continue to serve our customers.