Khandker Kingshuk Hossain, Chief Marketing Officer at Bashundhara Cement, in a recent interview with The Business Standard, said that 95% of the cement used in the construction of Dhaka's first Elevated Expressway has been provided by the Bashundhara Group.
Bashundhara Group has also provided bitumen for the entire project, he added.
He said that traffic congestion is the most painful among all the problems in the capital. In addition to public suffering, the country is suffering economically due to the unbearable traffic in the capital. This problem will be solved to a large extent by launching the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
The expressway will go from Kawla, south of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, to the Kutubkhali area of the Dhaka-Chattogram highway. The total length of the elevated expressway, including ramps, is 46.73 km.
Cement and bitumen are major elements of the construction of the nearly Tk9,000 crore project. About 95% of cement and bitumen have been supplied by Bashundhara Group. Earlier, Bashundhara also supplied a large portion of the cement for the Padma Bridge. Bashundhara Group has supplied around 800,000 tonnes of cement for that project.
A foreign company is handling the construction work for the elevated expressway project. Still, when asked why they chose Bashundhara Cement, he said, "The quality of raw material and the ability of the company to procure cement in major projects were looked at."
Apart from this, a lot depends on logistics capabilities and marketing strategies. In large projects, the supply quality and the ability to deliver consistently are important.
"We have our ship (mother vessel) for importing raw materials. We have more than 200 bulk carriers and around 400 trucks for transportation," Kingshuk Hossain said.
"Big mega projects like the Padma Bridge, Metrorail and Elevated Expressway require different types of cement, which not all companies have the capacity to supply. There are two types of cement: Portland Composite Cement (PCC) and Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). OPC comprises 95% clinker and about 1.5% gypsum," he explained.
PCC cement contains relatively less clinker. Bashundhara supplies the cement depending on the requirements of the project. The engineers on the projects check every shipment of cement.
"They use our cement because the quality is good. All types of cement manufacturing facilities are available at Bashundhara Group's plants. We can make cement according to the needs of any project," Kingshuk further said.
Not only elevated expressway, Bashundhara cement is being used in most mega projects in Bangladesh. The Padma Main Bridge, Padma Rail Link Project, Metrorail Project have used Bashundhara Cement exclusively. The Fifth Major Bridge Engineering Company is using Bashundhara Cement for the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project as well.
This project will build a 24-km-long Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway starting from Dhaka's Shahjalal International Airport Intersection through Abdullahpur-Ashulia-Baipail to EPZ. Sixteen connecting roads will be constructed for flights from different points. The combined length of the connecting roads will be about 10 km.
More than 14 kilometres of roads will be constructed from the flyover. Besides, a 1.95 km long flyover, 2.72 km bridge, 500 m overpass, 18 km drainage and duct for utilities and five toll plazas will be constructed in the Nabinagar area. About 500,000 tonnes of cement for this project are being supplied entirely by Bashundhara Group.
Earlier, the whole approach road of the Padma Bridge project was done with 100% Bashundhara's cement. We have 14 cement silos for river management work at these two ends of Jazira and Mawa. It is also done with Bashundhara cement. Padma Railway Link Project, through which the railway from Padma Bridge to Jessore is being constructed, also uses Bashundhara cement exclusively.
Stating the use of Bashundhara cement in other projects, he said, 'We are involved in various mega projects, including the main Padma Bridge, Padma Bridge River Management, Padma Bridge Approach Road, Padma Rail Project, Dhaka Metro Rail, Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant, Matarbari Thermal Power Plant, Payra Bridge, Rupsa Rail Bridge, Rampal Power Plant. We have been successfully supplying cement. Concerned people have chosen our brand after being satisfied with our quality and service.
Regarding the capacity of the cement market and local companies in the country, he said that the demand of the people in the country has also increased. At the same time, almost all the cement companies in the country have increased their production capacity two-to-three times due to the mega project.
The country's cement sector is fully capable. The market share of domestic brands is increasing in the country's market. Once the share of foreign brands was high, the demand for foreign brands has been reduced to 4-5%. The cement market has come under the control of domestic brands.