Bangladesh Shipbuilding Industry


Shipbuilding is synonymous with Bangladesh. Thousands of locally-built ships ply its inland waters. It also has a history of supplying ocean-faring vessels to European countries, including ships that partook in the Battle of Trafalgar. During the 20th century Bangladesh no longer produced ocean-faring vessels and concentrated on riverine and coastal water vessels.

In 2005, Ananda Shipyards and Slipways Ltd secured the first modern order for ocean-faring vessels and it delivered the first ship in the first half of 2008. It has received significant further orders.

While a second company, Western Marine, has also received significant orders. There is growing interest in this sector, with several companies indicating that they will upgrade existing facilities to meet international standards or that they will invest in the industry. Sceptics remain and there are those that do not believe that growth in the industry will be sustainable. These views are supported by the current international economic crisis.

Bangladesh Shipbuilding Industry
DEWL is the country’s oldest shipbuilder and is currently run by the Bangladesh Navy.
There are more than fifty shipyards in Bangladesh.
Global shipbuilding market size is US$ 1,600 billion - World Trade Organization (WTO)

Forecast of Local and Global Shipbuilding in Gross Tonnages:

It may be said that in the year of 2025 shipbuilding capacity of Bangladesh and world will be 1.0 and 92.5 million gross tonnages respectively. So Bangladesh is going to achieve the capacity of 1.50% of global shipbuilding share within 2025.

Trend Analysis of Shipbuilding in Bangladesh & World:

By 2025the world will need more than 20,000 vessels, mostly small to medium sized and all single hull tanker will be replaced by double hull as per IMO rules.  Bangladesh is suitable for small and medium combine cargo vessel, multipurpose vessel and oil tanker up to 15000 DWT and some extend to 25000 DWT, However it predicts that small cargo and containership market will also be feasible for Bangladesh in coming years.

It is concluded that prospects for the industry are good, provided Government creates, as a matter of urgency, an enabling environment in which the industry can flourish.

Bangladesh has a rich history in the shipbuilding industry with accounts found in writings of travelers to Bengal more than ten centuries ago and some travelers referring to Chittagong as the center of building ocean-faring vessels.

By the beginning of the 19th century Chittagong produced ships of 1,000 tons.

Bengali- built ships were used by the British Navy in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 while some of the current shipbuilders have indicated that some of the Portuguese and Dutch discoverers of the 15th and 16th century returned to Europe from Asia using Bangladeshi-built ships.5 Between 25 and 30 Chittagong-built ships were exported annually to various countries at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, the industry started waning due to the emergence of steam engines and other factors, including protection granted to colonial powers to their own shipbuilding industries.

The following potential ocean-faring vessel shipbuilders have been identified in this study:

  • Khulna Shipyard Ltd (KSY) is located on 68.97 acres (approximately 279,000 m2) of land at Labanchara, Khulna, on the bank of river Qazi Bacha, branch of the Rupsha. It is about 45 km north from Mongla Sea Port. The shipyard was founded in 1954 and commissioned in 1957. It was taken over by the Bangladesh navy in 1999. It has significant capacity for servicing ships and this can be transformed into ocean-faring vessel building capacity relatively quickly and with significantly less investment than founding a new shipyard.
  • The Meghna Group recently signed a US$35 million deal with South Korean shipbuilding giant STX to build the country’s largest ship-manufacturing facility. According to its chairman a total of over $100 million will be invested over a period of two years, although other sources have placed the investment at Tk220 crore (approximately $32 million). The company will have the capacity to build ships with a capacity of up to 25,000 DWT and is situated on 33 acres of land (approximately 133,500m2) on the Meghna River.
    The Meghna Group is also contemplating setting up a steel plant that could meet the requirements of the shipbuilding industry.
  • Dockyard & Engineering Works Limited (DEWL) is the country’s oldest shipbuilder and is currently run by the Bangladesh Navy. It has already made a decision to develop its existing infrastructure to international standards to lure export orders from overseas buyers. DEWL is situated on 22 acres (approximately 89,000 m2) of land at Sonakanda in Narayangaj district on the bank of Sitalakhya River. It currently has facilities for building Ro-Ro ferries, tugboats, inland and coastal vessels. DEWL plans to install capacity to build ships of up to 8,000 DWT.
  • The Karnaphuli-based Rangs Group is in the process of setting up Desh Shipbuilding at a cost of Tk100 crore (approximately $14.5 million) in Sadar Ghat in Chittagong.
  • Meghna Ghat-based Khan Brothers has invested around Tk16 crore (approximately $2.3 million) to develop a shipbuilding infrastructure at Gazaria in Munshiganj near the Meghna Bridge outside Dhaka.
  • Bengal Electric has acquired approximately 50 acres (202,000 m2) of land in Munshiganj to start shipbuilding for export and has indicated that slipway construction would be started before the end of 2008.

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