$1.58b FDI in the offing for shipbuilding
Govt plans to set up shipyard in Payra
The government looks to set up a shipbuilding facility in partnership with foreign investors at the Payra seaport in Patuakhali with an investment of $1.58 billion to cut import dependence for vessels and market ships globally.
State-run Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC) under the industries ministry will provide land to Gentium Solutions, a Singapore and Australia-based company and Damen Shipyards Group, a Dutch company, to construct the shipyard, which will make merchant and passenger ships.
“If the project is implemented, it will be the highest-ever foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh,” said the ministry in a press release.
In August 2018, Japan Tobacco International acquired local Akij Group’s tobacco business for $1.47 billion, the single largest FDI in Bangladesh so far. The disclosure comes after representatives from Gentium Solutions and Damen Shipyards Group presented a feasibility report for developing the shipbuilding and repair facility to the ministry where Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was present.
Gentium Solutions and Damen prepared the feasibility report after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with BSEC in 2020. The report found the prospect of shipbuilding in Bangladesh. The country already makes vessels for local and foreign buyers thanks to the presence of nearly 200 small and large shipbuilding yards. Annually, Bangladesh has a $1 billion local market for shipbuilding, said the report, adding that the global market for shipbuilding stood at $192 billion in 2019 with South Korea, China and Japan holding most of the market share.
Particle board market gains traction
The market for particle board is thriving in Bangladesh on the back of the rising demand for timber-alternative furniture and their growing use in interior designing. The demand for particle board, which is cheaper and eco-friendly than wooden ones, has been increasing around 15 to 18 per cent per year since 2017, thanks to rapid urbanisation and the growing housing sector, according to Fazle Rabbi, head of marketing of Partex Star Group, one of top particle board manufacturers in Bangladesh.
A particle board is a timber substitute, made of wood chips. It is used in interior decoration, furniture, door and door frames, partitions, false ceilings, shelves and panels for use at homes, offices and commercial establishments. There are several types of particle boards produced in the country: melamine, ply board, plain board, veneered bard, and PVC board. MDF board is imported from Malaysia. Melamine board accounts for around 60 per cent of the market on the account of its higher usage among corporate, furniture and residential segments. Manufacturers use locally available raw materials such as wastage of timber and jute stick as the major ingredients for making particle board.
The market size has reached Tk 3,000 crore, including Tk 480 crore spent on importing MDF board, according to an industry estimate. Although there is no reliable data, industry people say around Tk 10,000 crore has been invested in the industry by 15 to 16 big and small-sized factories. Major manufacturers are Akij Particle Board Mills, Star Particle Board Mills, Super Particle Board Mills, MRS Industries, Amber Boards, Multi Panels, Woodland Plywood & Particle Board Mills, Bengal Plywood Mills, Otobi, Diamond Particle Board Mills, and Maya Particle Board Mills.