Shipbuilding industry eyes $100m earning this year
Kazi Azizul Islam
Bangladeshi shipbuilders are eying at least $100 million dollar proceeds from their overseas deliveries this year which will be a milestone in their efforts to build a billion-dollar ship export industry within the next few years.
Local shipbuilders are also developing their capacity to make larger and superior world-class vessels while international marine equipment suppliers have started entering the Bangladesh market.
In last two years, Bangladesh delivered three ships to Danish and German importers that fetched around $40 million in proceeds.
Officials of the Western Marine and Ananda Shipyards told New Age that they have schedules to deliver at least 10 ships to foreign buyers this year.
‘Six ships made in our docks will be delivered to foreign buyers this year and at least $60 million proceeds will be added to the country’s export revenue,’ said Saiful Islam, Managing Director of Western Marine Shipyards.
Abdullahel Bari, chairman of Ananda Shipyards, a pioneer in ship exporting, said they expected four deliveries this year.
‘The deliveries are expected fetch $50 million in export earning for the country,’ said Bari.
He said they had recently installed a 100-tonne plus capacity gantry crane at their shipyard, the largest in the county.
‘Installation of the gantry crane is a significant technological advancement for the country’s shipbuilding industry,’ he said.
Western Marine’s Saiful said at present they are making ships up to 5,600-tonne capacity, but they are at the final stage of negotiations with a European buyer for building a 7,500-tonne multi-purpose cargo vessel.
Saiful said they had acquired a 50-acre-plus river-shore land near Chittagong port for setting up a new dock which will make 15,000-tonne capacity vessels.
‘By mid-2013 we will start making ships with 15,000-tonne capacity or more,’ he said.
Industry observers said at least three more private owned shipyards have already renovated their units to build export-oriented ships, complying international industry standards.
One or two of them may start operation this year as they are in advanced stage of negotiation with foreign buyers.
Niladri Shekhar Talukder, in-charge, planning and design of Desh Shipbuilding at Chittagong told New Age that some shipbuilders are also negotiating with foreign buyers for supplying small passenger and multi-purpose ships and ferries.
Desh, which specializes in lighter but speedier aluminum ships, is in negotiation with buyers from Australia and UAE.
‘Aluminum ships are very convenient for commuting fast from one island to another, so such specialty ships have great demand in countries having many islands,’ said Niladri.
Bob Lo, business development director of Singapore-based marine equipment distributor, Aerotec, distributor of Korea’s Hyundai Corporation, told New Age that global marine equipment suppliers are now evaluating Bangladesh’s shipbuilding industry very seriously.
While attending an industrial and marine equipment exhibition at Hotel Sheraton on Wednesday, Bob informed that Hyundai, a major shipbuilder of the world and ship equipment manufacturer, has recently entered Bangladesh’s fast growing market of marine and shipbuilding equipments.
‘Global suppliers are foreseeing that shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh has got a momentum and it will grow and grow further,’ he said.