Bangla Trac Rental Services Ltd is going to become the first company to locally manufacture and assemble cutter suction dredgers to achieve technological edge and bring the price of the machines down.
The leading construction equipment company of the country has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Narayanganj-based shipbuilder Highspeed Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd (HSEC) for equity partnership in the planned manufacturing facility currently owned by the shipbuilder, BanglaTrac said in a statement.
Bangla Trac has chosen Italian dredger builder Italdraghe S.p.A as its technology partner and the foreign partner would provide full technical support to local manufacturing.
So far, dredging has been a business of the two state agencies in Bangladesh – the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation and Bangladesh Water Development Board. In recent years the government has engaged a number of private companies to keep up with the planned pace of its multi trillion taka dredging master plan for the next decade. The country needs to double its dredging capacity.
Bangla Trac's Head of Marine Division Arifur Rahman told The Business Standard that right now there are around 200 dredgers in the country deployed by the private sector. Two-thirds of those were bought in the last 4-5 years.
The dredger market grew 3-4 times in the last three years as currently 25-30 units are being sold in the country each year, making an estimated annual market of Tk500 crore.
He forecasts that at least 200 more private sector owned dredgers would join the national fleet to serve the country's river dredging needs in the next 5-6 years, while the government is also planning to buy 70 more dredgers to add to its existing fleet of 100.
Local manufacturing would help reduce unit prices by around one-fourth, and that would save a lot of foreign currency for the country, said Arifur.
For example, an imported European or American 20-inch cutter suction dredger now costs Tk28-30crore in Bangladesh and BanglaTrac is working to bring it down to Tk20-21cr.
Around 95% of the dredgers are powered by Caterpillar engines and as the distributor and after sale service provider of Caterpillar, Bangla Trac has a long association with the dredging industry, Arifur Rahman added.
Apart from the engine, some sophisticated equipment and accessories, the core structure and a number of parts of the Italdraghe-branded dredgers would be locally-manufactured under strict quality control and maintaining international standard, he said.
"The manufacturing venture would help Bangla Trac acquire technology," he said.
"ISO 9001 certified and in line with IACS (International Association of Classification Societies) standards will guarantee the highest quality to meet the market's needs. After-sales service together with a well-stocked warehouse are there to make spare parts available. A qualified technical department is at disposal 24/7 ready to solve any complexity," Bangla Trac said in a press statement.
The manufactured brand is from Italy which is globally known for dredgers, dredging solutions and marine equipment, reads the press release.
Currently, a few companies assemble imported completely knocked down dredgers and Bangla Trac is paving the way to take the industry to the next level.
The dredger manufacturing facility, subject to over a hundred crore taka in investments, would be in operation by September next year.