US Ambassador Earl R Miller says this is the first major shipment of PPE into the US
Beximco Group has exported 6.5 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gowns to US brand Hanes for ultimate delivery to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As an exporter of the PPE, Bangladesh has joined a select group of countries that manufacture world-class PPE on a large-scale, said a statement of the company on Monday.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam, and US Ambassador Earl R Miller were present at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to send off Beximco’s first shipment of PPE to the US.
“As the global spread of Covid-19 has bloomed into a pandemic, it has become clear that there will be a desperate need of PPE to keep medical professionals and the general public safe. Beximco has proudly joined the fight against the global pandemic by moving swiftly to add manufacturing capabilities in PPE items such as gowns, masks, and coveralls,” said Beximco CEO and Group Director, Syed Naved Husain.
He said Covid-19 had changed how the world works, and Beximco had to urgently respond. “In just two months, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, technical, and design talent to switch over and start making PPE to help increase the supply of PPE which is urgently needed in Bangladesh and worldwide,” he stated.
He said: “Bangladesh is well positioned to become a new hub for PPE manufacturing. This would help keep people safe and secure worldwide while helping Bangladesh`s own economy and ensuring that the large workforce of 4.1 million in the garment sector can still make a good livelihood. Everyone in Bangladesh wants to turn the tide and help save lives. Beximco is leading the way in this regard.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam, lauded Beximco’s contribution to Bangladesh’s economy.
He said that like the rest of the world, Bangladesh is also facing a difficult time and trying to cope with this pandemic. “In these trying times, it’s remarkable to see that within this short span of two months, Bangladesh was able to foray into this much regulated market with such a sensitive healthcare product with just not ten or twenty thousand pieces but six and a half million pieces. What an achievement.”
US Ambassador Earl R Miller said this was the first major shipment of PPE into the US.
“The US welcomes Bangladesh’s world-class, large-scale PPE production in the global marketplace. The Beximco-Hanes partnership is another great example of how our two great nations are combating the Covid-19 pandemic,” the ambassador said.
He said all this happened in less than two months. “Beximco and Bangladesh were nimble enough to turn the production line around so that we can put badly needed PPE on this aircraft behind me and send it to the US. That’s absolute bureaucratic and entrepreneurial light speed.”
Speaking at the event, Jamaluddin Ahmed, chairman of Janata Bank, said: “Janata Bank is proud to be associated with Beximco in financing them. We are also going to finance other businesses involved in exports, as the economic machine should run or else everything will fall apart.”
Managing Director of Beximco Pharma, Nazmul Hassan MP, termed the event historic. “Today, [Monday] we join the club of first-class, large-scale PPE manufacturing countries.”
He said in the initial days of the pandemic, there was huge local demand for PPE and Beximco took the initiative to import PPE for local healthcare services.
“But there was severe shortage globally, as demand was increasing. We, therefore, decided to manufacture them to meet the demand. Today we are not only providing these to our local healthcare services but also exporting them to very highly regulated sensitive markets.”
Beximco lays out long term plan for PPE production
Beximco Pharmaceuticals is Bangladesh’s only US FDA Certified company with “World Class'' manufacturing and R&D facilities, with a global footprint in 50 countries. It became the first company in the world to launch a generic version of Remdesivir, which has been cleared by the US FDA.
It is the first medication supported by early clinical data that is available to effectively fight the novel coronavirus pathogen.
Beximco Textile Division is one of South Asia`s largest, fastest, agile, flexible, most innovative, and sustainable vertical Textile and Fashion Apparel manufacturing operations. It employs 40,000 people, shipping around 400,000 garments daily to gold standard companies like Target, USA, Zara, Michael Kors, PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Amazon, and C&A.
Yellow, which is Beximco`s fashion retail chain, has also become the No 1 Fashion Brand in Bangladesh.
Beximco has effectively leveraged Beximco`s best in class pharmaceutical knowhow and resources, combined with those of the Textile Division, to create the new Beximco PPE Division.
A new PPE Industrial Park is being rapidly set up 10 minutes away from Beximco Industrial Park which is built on a 350 acre campus.
Like all its endeavours, Beximco`s vision for the New PPE Division is long term and not fly by night and opportunistic, the statement says.
Accordingly, they have hired top global consultants, and are investing and setting up comprehensive vertical facilities for PPE products which will include all levels of PPE gowns, coveralls, masks, etc.
It plans to become a major global player in this sector over the next three years.
Beximco has also established a strategic partnership in the USA, with Chicago based Geste Designs. It is examining the feasibility of jointly investing and establishing a PPE manufacturing hub in Detroit, Michigan, with both state and city support. Geste is already supplying PPE to the city of Detroit to combat Covid-19.