Shipbuilding is one of the fastest growing industries in Bangladesh with great potentials. This industry has become a major promising industry in recent years when the locally made ships began to be exported. Bangladesh has now over 200 shipbuilding companies across the country, mostly concentrated in Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj, Barisal and Khulna regions.
The nature of Bangladesh as a waterway-rich country enabled it to have strong technical knowledge about shipbuilding in the domestic market which translated well internationally. With an increasing number of orders from both local and global buyers, the shipbuilding industry of Bangladesh is flourishing rapidly, contributing to diversification of the country’s export basket and generating employment opportunities. All types of inland and coastal vessels are being built in Bangladeshi shipyards. Bangladesh has competitively-priced skilled engineers and semi-skilled workers. Tailor-made training opportunity for shipbuilding is also available under the cooperation between the government and industry association.
Bangladesh has a long history of shipbuilding dating back to the early modern era. Due to the riverine geography of Bangladesh, ships have been playing a major role in the trade affairs of the people of Bangladesh since the ancient times. A medieval European traveler Caesar Frederick documented that the port city of Chittagong and Sandwip were manufacturing hubs of large ships during the mid 15th century. The famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta of 14th century said that there used to be large fleets of warships docked in various ports of the country.
The volume of shipbuilding swelled extensively during the Mughal period. During the 17th century, the shipyards of Chittagong and Sandwip used to build warships for the Sultan of Turkey. The British navy used ships built in Bengal in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. After 1971 liberation war, Bangladesh got its first exposure to the international shipbuilding market in 1979. Currently, there are around 100 yards at various across the country that are building and repairing almost all kinds of inland and coastal vessels.
Historically Bangladesh is a country with a very limited range of export products. Textiles and ready-made garments have traditionally constituted the bulk of its exports. Bangladesh became a ship-exporting country in 2008 when orders for multi-purpose carriers began to come largely from European countries such as the Netherlands and Germany. Bangladeshi ships are being exported to around 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. ‘Made in Bangladesh’ ships have a huge potential in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany and some African countries.
Bangladesh will have a “golden period” within few years in the ship-building sector with both the government and private sector investors keen on exploring new opportunities. Observers believe that this is a sector which has all the potential to flourish. The local shipyards have so far exported more than 40 ships to different countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and earned millions. Bangladeshi shipbuilding is the upcoming player in global market, and competitive enough for the smaller vessel segment benefiting from relatively cost competitive engineers and workers.
Made in Bangladesh Vessels:
The global market for small ocean-faring vessels is expected to grow to $400 billion by 2026. The demand in the global market for ships is directly related to the economy and its growth. Large manufacturers in the shipbuilding industry, such as China, Japan, and South Korea, are more focused on the construction of large vessels, and make up nearly 90% of the ships built annually. The three Asian giants focus on large vessels above 50,000 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT), and Bangladesh is focused on utility vessels or ships smaller than 12,000 DW. This means that Bangladesh has specialized production, which does not clash with the larger global producers.
Bangladeshi shipbuilders are now building a number of diversified types of vessels such as multipurpose vessel, fast patrol boat, container vessel, cargo vessel, tanker, dredging barge, ferry, passenger vessel, landing craft, tourist ship, tugboat, supply barge, deck loading barge, pleasure craft, crane boat, speed boat, deep-sea trawler, self-propelled barge, inspection vessel, cargo coaster, troops carrying vessel, double-decker passenger vessel, hydro-graphic survey boat, pilot boat, hospital ship, and water taxi.
Major Shipbuilding Company in Bangladesh:
Major ship builders in Bangladesh range from larger to medium scales, and build vessels both for domestic and export markets. Among them, Western Marine Shipyard, Ananda Shipyards, Chittagong Dry Dock, High Speed Shipbuilding & Engineering are the largest in building operation.
- Khulna Shipyard Ltd, Khulna
- Ananda Shipyards & Slipways Ltd, Meghna Ghat, Narayanganj
- Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, Kolagaon, Patiya, Chittagong
- Narayanganj Engineering & Shipbuilding Ltd, Nabigonj, Bandar, Narayanganj
- Karnafuly Shipyard (PVT) Ltd, Chittagong
- Khan Brothers Shipbuilding Ltd, Hosendi Bazar, Gazaria
- High Speed Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Meghna Ghat, Narayanganj
- Meghna Shipbuilders & Dockyard Ltd, Meghna Ghat, Narayanganj
- Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd, Kadamrasul, Narayanganj
- Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd, East Patenga, Chittagong
- Bashundhara Steel & Engineering Ltd, Katuail, Konda, Keraniganj
- TK Shipyard Ltd, Meghna Ghat, Munshiganj
- Prime Ship Building Ltd, Gazaria, Munshiganj