Category Archives: Engineering Sector/Steel and Metals Industry

Atlas to start commercial production of three wheelers from April

Atlas to start commercial production of three wheelers from April

Monira Munni

Atlas Bangladesh, the state-owned motorcycle and mishuk manufacturing company is going to start commercial production of environment-friendly battery powered rechargeable three wheelers from April, officials said.

“We are going to launch the new venture focusing our local market and the environment issue as well,” M Saifuzzaman, managing director (MD) of Atlas Bangladesh Ltd told the FE.

The production cost of the new venture will be funded by the government’s resources and the parts of the three wheelers will be locally produced except the engine, he added.

The presence of battery-powered, rechargeable three-wheelers in cities are growing stronger mainly because of the rise in prices of fuel including natural gas, industry sources said.

Earlier a three-wheeler, named BORAC (Battery Operated, Rechargeable Auto Carriage) assembled locally with imported parts by another company, got much popularity in the city.

But now the government has initiated the project of producing three wheeler in the country mainly to save foreign currency which was spent for import, the sources added. Atlas sources said it might be a good substitute for rickshaws in the cities.

According to an estimate, there are one million rickshaws plying across the country, half of them in Dhaka. It is often blamed that rickshaws create traffic congestions and the exhausting physical labour required for pulling a rickshaw is criticised by the human rights groups.

The three-wheeler will be priced within Tk 110,000, the Atlas chief executive said.

“We are hopeful that we can be able to keep the price within the range of Tk 110,000 maintaining our production cost”.

Atlas official sources said each of the vehicles of the three-wheeler will have the speed of around 35-40 kilometres per hour.


Non-ferrous metal emerges with export potential

Non-ferrous metal emerges with export potential
Ship-breaking residue goes to Europe, Japan

Jasim Uddin Haroon

In a surprise move, local traders have started exporting of non-ferrous metals to European markets, neighbouring India and Japan as these items have huge demands there.

The term non-ferrous is used to indicate metals other than iron.

Bangladesh has no under-ground reserves of ferrous and non-ferrous metals like copper, brass, aluminium, bronze, and lead. Local traders are procuring those from the country’s ship breaking yards.

The traders also procure other non-ferrous metals like gun-metals and white metals, which are very expensive items procured from ship breaking yards.

Md Kamal Uddin, an exporter of these metals, told the FE: “We’re exporting the item to different European countries and neighbouring country India.”

Exporters said that the importing nations make valuable engineering products, especially for shipbuilding plants, by recycling the metals.

Sources claimed local traders are exporting around 100 containers of non-ferrous metals each month weighing around 2000 tonnes.

The prices for the non-iron metals range between US$ 1000-$5000 each tonne depending on quality and sizes.

Ship breakers said that each ship contains minimum 1.0 per cent non-ferrous metals.

But specialised ships contain more than 3.0 per cent such metals.

Captain Anam, a senior consultant of the ship breakers, told the FE: “Around 40,000-50,000 tonnes non-ferrous metals come out from the ship breaking fields each year.”

Mr Anam said: “Most of these items are being exported and a tiny quantity is used locally to produce different household items.”

Shaheen, another exporter of the metals, alleged that a large quantity of such metals are smuggled out into India as the country has a huge demand for household utensils made of copper and brass.

Kamal Uddin said this has diversified the country’s export basket saying: “The government should take necessary steps to stop its smuggling.”

Light engineering in limelight

Light engineering in limelight
Four-day fair showcases an array of collections

Power supply equipment is on display at a light engineering fair that started in Dhaka yesterday.Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

It was an atypical exposition.

The fair was a get-together of enthusiasts and dream entrepreneurs, who came to showcase their domestic innovations.

Entrepreneurs were least interested in demanding aid from the government or foreign donors. All they want is government policy support to boost growth of the light engineering sector.

Products showcased included locally produced, battery-run cars, concrete mixture machines, paint mixture machines, pharmaceutical packaging machines, automated teller machine frames, garment machinery and machinery for rice mills and power looms.

The prices of these products were also far less than their imported counterparts, said participants of the four-day fair — Bangladesh International Industrial and Engineering Technology Tradeshow 2010, the first ever show of its kind.

The fair co-organised by Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners’ Association (BEIOA) and ASK Trade and Exhibition Ltd, an Indian company, started at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.

Rahim Engineering Workshop, a Bagura-based light engineering company, come to the fair with its own innovation — Bangla Car, a battery-run car with a capacity of 60 kilometres per hour.

Mohammad Harun-or-Rashid Raju, chairman of the company, said they started car manufacture in 2006. The reason behind delayed work was the unavailability of parts.

“The car will produce energy for itself by its heat, which will be generated while running the rechargeable battery engine,” he said. “It will consume less energy and be completely environment friendly.”

Local entrepreneurs also produced manual knife valves, essentially used in paper mills, to control the flow of pulp.

Abdul Hakim Miah, owner of HT Engineering Works, said his company has been manufacturing the manual knife valve for the last 17 years. Demand for his products by local paper mills has remained steady. Prices of his products start from Tk 1,500 per inch.

There are various new innovations that mainly cater to the garment industry and real estate.

Entrepreneurs also displayed machinery to make ballpoint pens, furniture, bakery equipment, flourmills, CD and DVD covers, plastic baskets and carriers.

A total of 110 participants, including 23 overseas companies from India, China, Hong Kong, UK and Germany, are showcasing their products and services at the fair.

Bangladesh’s light engineering sector has flourished from almost nothing to a multi-crore taka business since independence in 1971. The sector’s development mainly came about at an informal cottage status.

The sector mainly involves three kinds of works — making complete machinery, producing spare parts and repairing old machines. The sector also undertakes maintenance work of different machineries.

There are currently around 40,000 small-scale light engineering enterprises across the country, which directly involves six lakh people, according to Board of Investment statistics.

The sector manufactures around 10,000 types of items worth $120 million a year for local industries.

Abdur Razzaque, president of BEIOA, said the sector only needs government support to develop an industrial park and help upgrade technology.

“We do not need aid from the government or foreign donors. If the government gives policy support, the sector will show how it can change the country’s economic status.”

Dilip Barua, industries minister, also responded to the demands of the sector and said the government is making a new industrial policy, which will support small and medium enterprises, including the light engineering sector.

New IMO rule boon for local ship breakers

New IMO rule boon for local ship breakers
Jasim Uddin Haroon

The country’s ship scrap market is likely to remain stable for the next few years, as new IMO rule forces hundreds of tankers to go into ship-breaking yards from April 2010, ship breakers said.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), in its recent assembly held in London approved single hull tanker elimination rule.

A hull is the watetight body of a ship or tanker, above the hull comes the superstructure and deckhouse.

This will ensure adequate supply of MS rod raw material in the country as Bangladesh’s steel manufacturers largely depend on the ship scraps to produce the construction material.

“Our sector is expected to remain stable for the next few years as supply side of old ships will improve sharply from April 2010,” Captain Mohammed Anam, a senior consultant of Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) told the FE after attending the London conference.

“We will break the large chunk of the old oil tankers to be scraped from May next year as Bangladesh is the number one player in ship scraping in the world,” Anam added.

The UN body in its rule said all single hull oil tankers will become unfit after April 2010 as these have been affecting the envirnment to a great extent.

Currently, single hull tankers account for over 800 mostly carrying Greek, Maltese, Librarian, Bahamian and Singaporean flags.

Local ship breakers who supply around 2.0 millon tonnes of scraps each year said prices of used steel materials would only be competitive if vessel supply was ensured.

The ongoing economic recession forced many to scrap their vessels resulting in increased supply of old ships in the Bangladesh’s ship breaking yards.

Local ship breakers supplied 2.2 million tonnes of scraps in 2008-09 fiscal year.

The currnet prices for each tonne of non-rollable scrap is Tk 24,000 and rollable Tk 27,000. It reached between Tk 50,000 and 52,000 prior to the global recession.

BSBA presdient Md Zafar Ahmed said: “The IMO rule will be a boon for us and our market will not become volatile any time soon.”

The steel market remained stable over the past one year as the ship breakers had supplied adeqaute quantity of scraps to the re-rolling mills.

Curretly, each tonne of quality mild steel rod is being sold between Tk 43,000 and Tk 44,000 against Tk 75,000 and Tk 78,000 earlier.

Bangladesh’s around 200 steel and re-rolling mills consume around 70 per cent ship scraps to produce around 2.4 million tonnes MS rod annually.

Magnum makes steely entry

Magnum makes steely entry
Star Business Report

Competition is set to intensify among ‘greater-strength’ rod makers as Magnum Steel Industries Ltd has entered the scene to tap growing demand for 500-grade steel in real estate and construction.

The product known as Magnum Supreme 500 has greater strength with ductility to make buildings safer, said Zahir H Chowdhury, managing director of Magnum Steel, at a press meet at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity yesterday.

The company said yield strength of its 500-grade steel rod will be 72,500 pounds per square inch.

“It will be economical to use the 500-grade steel as the quantity needed for construction will be less,” Zahir said.

Magnum Steel Chairman H Rashid Nizam and other senor officials were also present.

Located in Gazaria on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, Magnum Steel started making higher-grade rods as demand continues to rise due to growth in public works and real estate, which consumes about 22 lakh tonnes of steel a year.

Of the total quantity, demand for 500-grade rods will be as much as 4 lakh tonnes with BSRM being the pioneer in offering the product to builders.

“Our factory has a capacity to produce 100,000 tonnes of rod a year. We want to utilise more than half of the production capacity in the first year,” Zahir said.

“We expect the use of quality rods will continue to rise in line with a rise in real estate and construction works.”

According to the Magnum MD, 40-and 60-grade steel rods dominate the market, but their yield strength is much lower than 500-grade steel.

“It (500 grade) is the most powerful steel in the market now. Prices are a bit higher but builders should not compromise on quality,” he said, referring to reports on the possibility of earthquakes in Bangladesh.

He said Magnum steel, which has been produced since November, could be used in high-rises, industrial plants, residential blocks, bridges and culverts.

“We have started marketing our product recently to lure consumers, mainly high-rise constructors,” Zahir said.

The company offers a promotional price of Tk 43,500 a tonne to dealers for its brand Magnum Supreme 500-grade steel.

At present, the price of 60-grade steel rod is close to the price of 500-grade steel.

Bangladesh to export car parts

Bangladesh to export car parts
Star Business Report

Bangladesh is set to export automobile parts and accessories to the US market, which is expected to boost the light engineering industry.

Sample products including bumper bracket, rubber brush and suspension kits will be produced as part of the first order worth $15,000 for New Milbert International Inc, a US company.

Few other products — piston, moulding, fender and mirror — will be exported to the US in phases.

Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association, Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC) and New Milbert International Inc yesterday signed a tripartite deal.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua was present at the signing ceremony.

“We are impressed by the potential of the local light engineering sector. We have ordered few samples of automobile accessories. If they can deliver the order successfully, a wide door will open for Bangladesh,” said Nishan Rahim, managing partner of New Milbert International.

Abdur Razzaque, president of BEIOA, Dr Ihsanul Karim, assistant director of BITAC, were the other signatories to the deal.

New Milbert International sources parts mainly from India and Taiwan and supplies them to the US market.

BITAC will provide equipment makers with support in designing and automation.

The light engineering sector has flourished from almost nothing to a multi-crore taka business since independence in 1971.

The sector makes products ranging from automated teller machine frames, pharmaceutical packaging machines, machinery for garment sector and rice mills, automobile spare parts, power looms and machinery for paint industry.

It also produces machinery for making ballpoint pens, furniture, bakery equipments, flourmills, CD and DVD covers, plastic baskets and carriers.

The sector manufactures around 10,000 types of items worth $120 million a year for the local industry.

Bangladesh to make automobile parts to enter US market

Bangladesh to make automobile parts to enter US market

Bangladesh is set to export light engineering items to the US markets, paving the way for turning the country’s industry sector into a state-of-the-art in the world.

Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association (BEIOA), the country’s lone traditional automobile organization located in the city’s Dholaikhal, will produce the automobile products, sources at the ministry of industries told the news agency  yesterday.

Assistant director of Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC) of the Ministry of Industries Dr Ihsanul Karim said they will provide the BEIOA with necessary technical and management supports in this regard.

The US conglomerate dubbed ‘New Mil Bert Int, Inc’ has evinced its interest to import the light engineering products from Bangladesh.

Nishan Rahim, an expatriate Bangladeshi living in the US and managing partner of the company, already appraised his company’s requirement of apparatuses to the BITAC authority, said Dr Karim.

The company, which now imports a variety of automobile products from India and Taiwan, gave an export proposal with a list consisting four automobile parts as sample to the BITAC authority.

The BEIOA in close cooperation with the BITAC already made an assessment on how the opportunity could be tapped by synchronizing the facilities of the two organizations.

The possibility of automobile import has become possible as the BITAC agreed to provide technological supports, including head treat, computer designing and computer numerical control (CNC) machine.

Price of the samples has been earmarked about Taka 15,000 US dollar (equivalent to Taka about 11 lakh), said Dr Karim and termed the export trade as a break even point.

Dr Karim said after obtaining quality assurance from the US company, Bangladesh might get huge quantity export orders yearly.

The US company managing partner said upon getting quality assurance, the company is likely to manage most expensive CNC machine for the BEIOA with soft loans.

The BEIOA became encouraged to export by two ways as the BITAC is providing the technical and management support and on the other hand the government provides 10 per cent cash incentives for exports.

In this backdrop of Bangladeshi automobile export to US market, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be singed on Saturday among three sides—the US Company, BITAC and BEIOA.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua will attend the signing ceremony, the sources said.