Banks, insurance, pharmaceutical companies and other institutions are their major clients of the new year products
On entering the small room, stuffed with printing materials and piles of papers, one will be overwhelmed by the staccato sound of the printing machine which seems it will not stop any time soon.
People working in the room appear to have an urgency to complete some tasks, which are time-bound and required to be finished immediately.
Such is the condition in about 200 presses in the capital’s Fakirapool-Arambagh printing hub engaged in preparing calendars, diaries, notebooks and greeting cards for the new year, which is a little more than a month away.
In the country's biggest printing hub, the workers are now up to their ears in work and have hardly any time to spare as they have to finish the works at hand by the deadlines.
“We started making new year products in the second week of November and the works will continue till December,” said Anwar Hossain, a press owner at Arambagh.
All the products were scheduled for delivery by December 25, he told Dhaka Tribune.
He said the two months — November and December — were their busiest time of the year when they printed books and notebooks for schools along with the new year calendars, diaries and greeting cards.
Banks, insurance, pharmaceutical companies and other institutions are their major clients of the new year products, he mentioned, adding that some printers were also making the products for sale in the market.
The 200 presses, engaging 1,500 workers, are now dedicatedly working for making new year products, according to Motijheel Press Owners' Association.
Besides, some other presses out of around 1,200 in the area are preparing such products along with their regular works.
The association General Secretary, Murshed Azam, said Fakirapool-Arambag was the biggest printing hub for such products, accounting for about 70% supply of the total demand in the country.
There were some other presses printing the products in other areas such as Mirpur and Keraniganj in the capital and other parts of the country, he said.
Several companies including Azad Products are also producing the new year products with their brand names.
The manufacturers are using imported papers for making the products, while other materials such as leather and spiral cable, inks are being collected from domestic sources.
Azam said no local paper mills were producing the papers used in calendars and cards, which was why they had to import it, especially from Korea, India, Indonesia and China.
The association general secretary said the market of new year calendars, diaries, notebooks and greeting cards was worth about Tk215 crore yearly.
Approximately 1.5 crore pieces of wall-calendar worth Tk80 crore, 50 lakh pieces of desk-calendar worth Tk25 crore, 1 crore pieces of diaries and notebooks worth Tk100 crore, and 25 lakh pieces of greeting cards worth Tk10 crore are produced every year.
The Arambag-Fakirapool hub is supplying the products worth Tk150 crore, while the rest comes from across the country.
The markets of calendars and diaries are expanding every year with increased number of private companies, banks, insurances and multinational companies placing orders for the products, Azam said, adding that the companies considered the products as their advertisements.
On the other hand, use of greeting cards decreased thanks to technological advancements, he added.
10% growth expected
Azam said that the manufacturers attained a 5-7% growth in sales of the products last year. “This year we are expecting a 10% growth,” he said.
“But I am not confident about the expected growth as the economic situation is not good this year. Our big clients such as banks and financial institutions are passing hard times,” added Azam.