State-owned co joins shipbuilding soon
FHM Humayan Kabir
A state-owned company will soon join the newly emerging export-oriented shipbuilding industry that has been witnessing a boom in the country recently.
Dockyard & Engineering Works Limited (DEWL), the country’s oldest shipbuilder now being run by the Bangladesh Navy, will develop its existing infrastructure to international standard to lure export orders from overseas buyers, managing director of the company Captain Mahmud Ali said.
“We will enter into joint ventures with experienced local or international shipbuilders to develop our shipyard. We’ve already requested for expression of interests from several companies for entering into joint venture partnership with us,” he said.
“I hope we will be able to do so within a couple of months. Then we will start development of our existing shipyard and bring it to world standard level to acquire ocean-going ship construction orders from the abroad,” Mahmud Ali, who is also a captain of Bangladesh Navy told the FE.
The DEWL, established in 1926, is situated in 22 acres of land at Sonakanda in Narayangaj district on the bank of Sitalakhya River.
It has all the facilities for building Ro-Ro Ferry, Tug Boats, Inland & Coastal Vessels, Barges etc. It has also repair and maintenance facilities apart from equipment to produce industrial spares.
The company is well equipped with slipway, workshops having facilities of lathe shear, press, drill, grinding, boring, milling, cranes, forklifts, jack, pulleys etc. The slipway measures 298’X290′ with a capacity to dock vessels upto 300 feet in length and dead load of 780 tonnes.
The state-owned DEWL, once operational, will be the seventh company in the country to enter into the booming shipbuilding industry, after the Ananda, Chittagong-based Western Marine, Fatullah-based Highspeed, Meghnaghat-based Khan Brothers and Meghna Group and Karnaphuli-based Rangs Group.
The Khan Brothers, Meghna Group and Rangs Group are now working to set up world standard shipyard to bag international orders of ocean-going ships.
The Ananda, Western Marine and Highspeed Group have already bagged export orders worth nearly $350 million since the country emerged as a new global destination of shipbuilding last year.
Experts said Bangladesh has become a new destination for construction of small sea vessels, with an annual market of $400 billion, as traditional shipbuilding nations such as South Korea, Japan and China now focus on larger vessels.
Even Vietnam, which is relatively new in shipbuilding, is no longer interested to build ships of less than 25,000 tonnes capacity.
“We are confident that after developing our shipyard into international standard we can be able to build ocean-going vessel weighing up to 8,000 dead weight tonnes,” Mahmud Ali said.
We already have some expertise to build cargo vessels, repair private vessels, marine ships and build necessary motorised boats of Bangladesh Navy, he said.
The DEWL managing director said a lot of shipbuilding experts, who once used to work in this company, were now working in country’s renowned shipbuilding companies like Ananda, Western Marine and High Speed.
Capt Mahmud Ali said: “As the major ship building countries like South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, India and Vietnam have no spare capacity for taking new orders, the international shipping companies are courcing out new destination. This prospect has prompted us to develop our shipyard for securing some of those orders.”
Since DWEL has some modern facilities and also have expert manpower, the enterprise will be bale to able million-dollar export orders from abroad to construct ocean-going vessels, he added.