Export earnings from the thriving shipbuilding industry in the first ten months of the current fiscal year 2017-18 was $30.12 million, according to latest data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The data showed Bangladesh made the earnings exporting ships, boats, and floating structures in the period from July 2017 to March 2018.
According to sector insiders, the growing shipbuilding industry of Bangladesh has great potential, as demand in the domestic market is expanding. Orders from international buyers have also picked up.
Top two exporters
There are seven shipbuilding companies in Bangladesh - Khulna Shipyard Ltd, Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, Ananda Shipyard ltd, Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd, FMC Dockyard Ltd, Karnaphuli Shipyard Ltd, and Ready Point Shipyard Ltd.
Two shipyards - Western Marine and Ananda - have been leading the export market.
According to the EPB data, the two shipbuilders have exported 40 ships comprising both small and medium sized vessels worth $170 million to 14 countries from 2009 to 2017.
Of the two, the Western Marine Shipyard has earned 89% of the export earnings, around $150 million, by exporting 31 ships to Denmark, Germany, Ecuador, Finland, Tanzania, New Zealand, Gambia, Dubai, Uganda, Kenya, India, and Pakistan.
On the other hand, the Ananda Shipyard has fetched $20 million in earnings by exporting nine ships to Denmark, Mozambique, and Maldives.
Global market opportunities
Business Wire, a global economic data analysis agency, estimated that around $650.83 billion will be spent for the procurement of new ships in the year 2026 across the world, mainly focusing on building environment-friendly ships.
While the market for small ocean-faring vessels would grow to $400 billion annually, stakeholders in Bangladesh hope that the country could gain at least 1% of the market share, worth $4 billion annually.
Bangladeshi shipbuilders are hopeful as the leading countries in the industry like Japan, South Korea, and China are fully booked for the next ten years for building super-ships, specialized, and hi-tech ships, and they are not interested in constructing smaller vessels.
Industry insiders said: “If proper policy and support from the government is ensured, the shipbuilders in Bangladesh will be able to grab the global market and contribute greatly to the country’s economy.”