Experts for exploring new export destination
Experts at a seminar in the city on Saturday suggested that local shipbuilders explore new export destinations other than their traditional markets in the European countries, reports BSS.
The suggestion came against the backdrop of falling demand of ships from Europe, the major destination for Bangladeshi shipbuilders.
“Europe is suffering from continuous economic jitters that followed the recent global financial crisis. But we should not wait for recovery,” Dr Abdur Rahim, former faculty member of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), told the seminar.
TK Shipyard and PTB News.com, a web-based newspaper, jointly organized the seminar on ‘Present and Future of Bangladesh’s Shipbuilding Industry’ at the city’s Mukti Bhaban.
Among others, managing director of TK Shipyard Syed M Monzur Hossain, retired government official Eng M Enamul Haque, chief engineer and chief surveyor of Department of Shipping AKM Fakhrul Islam addressed the seminar.
Aminur Rasul Babul, member secretary of Nirapad River Routes Implementation Movement, read out the keynote paper on the topic of the seminar highlighting future prospects of Bangladesh in shipbuilding.
Dr Rahim said although European countries are facing economic slump, their ships need to be replaced and that is why Bangladesh must increase its technical capacity and shipyards to absorb orders.
Apart from Europe, he said, there are huge shipbuilding markets in South East Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore where growth of these countries are on the rise.
“We should tell the world’s leading buyers that Bangladesh can give the best quality at the least cost,” said the expert.
Monzur Hossain said the shipbuilding sector has a potential to create huge employment opportunities for the country’s unemployed youths should the sector is nurtured properly.
He said TK Shipbuilding has so far built nine ships for local use and has a plan to enter into the world market by the middle of next year.
Fakhrul said the size of shipbuilding world market is 400 billion US dollars and Bangladesh can easily grab one percent (US$ 4b) getting order of ships ranging from 5,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage) to 7,000 DWT.
The experts put forward a set of recommendations to address snags the country’s shipbuilding industry is facing.
They are easy access to bank loans, making government’s proposed Taka 200 crore refinancing scheme functional, providing cash incentive, setting up more shipyards at public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, reducing duty on import of shipbuilding raw materials and removing bureaucratic complexities.
At present, Ananda, Western Marine, Highspeed Shipbuilding, Dhaka Dockyard and Engineering Works, Khan Brothers Shipbuilding Ltd and Karnaphuli Shipyard are the leading shipbuilding companies that make ships for international buyers.
These companies have received export orders of world-class seagoing vessels – – both small and medium—worth $ 478 million with a deadline to deliver those by 2013, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.
The country has already exported oceangoing ships worth US$18.02 million, posting 1925 per cent growth during July- December period in the current financial year 2010-11.