Chittagong, 20 September 2012: Western Marine Thursday inaugurated the construction work of one 134 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) container vessel by laying a keel in its shipyard premises, Patiya.
This is the first time the company will build container ships for inland route (CPA-PICT). The ship will be constructed under German class Germanischer Lloyd (GL).
To this effect, Western Marine signed an agreement with GL for classification of this ship on September 6, 2012 in Germany. The deal was made at the largest shipbuilding exhibition ‘SMM 2012’ in Hamburg.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed attended in the keel laying ceremony as a chief guest and Danish Ambassador in Bangladesh H.E. Svend Olling as a Special Guest. The ship will be owned by Mir & Islam Enterprise, a private entrepreneur which was awarded a license for one container ship out of thirty-two similar licenses issued by the government recently.
This ship will be serving for the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal (PICT) which Bangladesh government has developed in Dhaka to facilitate increased trade within the country. The ship will make a major contribution to the Bangladesh economy for port service enhancement and at the same time it will play a major role in reducing of traffic congestion in highways by transferring the mass imported goods by river. The first time container ships will be plying in our inland channels, which had never been experienced in before.
Statistics say that last year Chittagong port received 15 lakh TEUs of containers which is also growing by 20% per annum & it will reach an optimum level of 30 lakh in the coming years. Some 90 per cent of these goods are transferred to various destinations within the country either by rail or road. The 32 container ships of which licenses have been issued will be able to carry 2.5 lakh TEUs per year. According to the present momentum we will require at least 150 container ships to meet the growing volume of container received by the ports.
Till to date, goods from cargo ships were discharged through inland feeder vessels to various destinations in the country but containers are still being discharged in our sea ports and transferred by roads and highways. The initiative taken by the government of inland container terminal will reduce traffic jam in our highways.
The Chief Guest highly admired Western Marine’s capacity in building quality vessels & he even said high about the progress of Western Marine which he had been witnessing for past years and hoped that Bangladeshi yards will be dominating globally very soon.
Shipyard MD Sakhawat Hossain said traffic congestion in highways will drop for introducing such container ships in our river channels, and government should prevent import of second hand ships from abroad because such ships are hazardous to environment & unsafe. In the other hand ships being built in local yard are built under class & according to the rules of Department of Shipping.
Chairman Saiful Islam said “Bangladesh government has issued thirty-two licenses for such vessel, and Western Marine has ensured the new construction of five of these vessels”. He emphasized more saying these ships will add value to the economy by reducing traffic congestion in the country which is a major crisis to us in today’s date.