Barisal emerging as a shipbuilding zone
BARISAL, Jan 31: Barisal is going to emerge as a shipbuilding zone which is already been enriched with at least 10 shipyards.
Meanwhile, these shipyards are capable of floating a good number of passenger vessels and cargo ships that ply through different domestic water routes and in coastal areas with capacities up to 2500 tonnes and also several lighters which are engaged in Chittagong and Mongla Port.
It is becoming evident that some owners of the passenger vessels of south Bengal including Barisal are now showing interest in cargo ship and lighter business.
Crescent Shipping Lines built two lighters which are now engaged in unloading freight at Chittagong wharf. On the other hand, the shipyard situated at Dapdapia built several cargo ships.
Golam Mawla, Owner of Crescent Navigation, pointed out that Barisal region had been having a heritage of shipbuilding from ancient period.
“Most of the large double-and triple-decker luxury passenger carrying water vessels now plying on major river routes of the country were built here maintaining international standards,” Mawla said.
Before liberation, Azahar Uddin, owner of a Bhola launch company, set up a dockyard on the bank of Shaheber Hat Channel to repair small launches.
After liberation, Golam Mawla, the pioneer navigation investor, founded a small dockyard there but in the course of time that dockyard is now quite capable of building massive passenger vessels like ‘the Surovi-7′, a modern luxurious ship’.
Prime Shipping Lines, an associate of Sundarban Navigation Company, has built the biggest cargo ship of Barisal.
Another lighter ‘Sundarban-4’ of 182 feet long and 32 feet wide with15 feet loaded draft and a capacity of 1300 tonnes, equipped with two Chinese engines of 300 HP (horse power) has been rendering its service well. To accomplish “Sundarban-4” the craftsmen took about one year.
The biggest and most modern and luxurious passenger carrying vessel ‘Sundarban-7′ also slides down to its waterway from this shipyard.
Kawsar Hossain, Deputy Director. Environment Bureau, Barisal and Linkon Bain, Resource Officer, Bangladesh Environment Lawyers’ Association, Barisal Division, opined that shipyard establishment in Chittagong caused deforestation there which was harmful to the environment but to establish shipyard in vast sands area on the bank of the Kirtonkhola river will not do that.
Md Shamsul Haq, Senior Program Officer, The Asia Foundation, a non-government orgaisation that has been working on the development of business and investment, said that the government is going to make a policy on shipbuilding industry.
“For the development of Barisal shipyard, dredging and sanctioning long term loan have to be included therein”, said he.
At the same time necessary attempts should be made to attract foreign investors.
Saidur Rahaman Rintu, Senior Vice-President of the Barisal Chamber of Commerce and Industries as well as Secretary of District Business Forum, Barisal, said that the shipyards situated at Dapdapia and Beltala on the bank of Kirtonkhola had built launches and coastal ships and seven more cargo ships with capacities of 1500-2500 tonnes are under construction there. Three of them are about to be completed.
About 350 workers are engaged in different shipyards in Barisal.
As Barisal is a riverine district, it is much more convenient to carry raw materials to Barisal by river.
So shipbuilding industries in Barisal hold a bright prospect to notably contribute to the national economy as the Garments Industries.