Shipping business will be the next best business in Bangladesh.
When the old ships under the Shipping Corporation of Bangladesh were being sent to retirement one after another, we had no choice. Where foreign trade has crossed $ 100 billion (90% of which is by sea), Bangladesh has to spend more than Rs 30,000 crore just to rent a ship!
Development of the situation:
But the situation has taken a dramatic turn as the private sector has come forward. When the number of ships decreased to less than 15, Bangladesh Shipping business turned around from there. In just a few years, new ships began to be added to the fleet of public and private ships. At present the number of sea-going ships in the country stands at 60. Only 57 ships have been added in the last 4 years!
The country’s shipping companies have earned Rs 3,110 crore in rent!
Now let’s come to a different context.
At present, Bangladesh has risen to the top of the world in terms of ship ownership. At present Bangladesh ranks 39th in the world whereas India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are 16th, 7th and 8th respectively.
Let’s give another small example. Out of 60 ships in Bangladesh, only 6 are container vessels. And these 6 ships are owned by H. R. Lines, a private company of Bangladesh. Mearsk accounts for the lion’s share of Bangladesh’s container transport. But the interesting thing is that HR Lines, the flag bearer of Bangladesh, occupies the 61st position in the list of the world’s container vessel companies. Out of 100 companies, only one is from South Asia. It is the official shipping corporation of India. However, their position is below Bangladesh. No one is above Bangladesh in South Asia.
The current capacity of the HR line is 9000 twenty feet containers per ship. At present they can transport 18,000 containers per month. Soon the company will be adding 6 more ships with a capacity of 16,400 containers.
Container ships from Chittagong go to China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Italy. These routes have the capacity to carry 150,000 containers on 75 ships of 25 companies. There is a big market for Bangladesh here.
The Bangladesh Flag Vessel Protection Ordinance was promulgated in 2019 where it is now mandatory to carry at least 50% of sea-going cargo on Bangladeshi-flagged ships. And as a result, domestic investment is coming.
Shipping costs have risen in the world now. Ships are not available even with booking. This is increasing the lead time. However, Bangladesh has probably come up with a long-term plan. To address global challenges, Bangladesh has introduced direct sea links with Europe to reduce shipping costs and lead times. Recently, the first ship named Tsonga Cheetah left Chittagong for Italy. Where it used to take 40 days, it will take only 16 days less than 24 days. Shipping cost reduced by 40%. This will increase the competitiveness of Bangladesh.
Reducing over-reliance on shipping can reduce fares by billions of dollars. At the same time the weakness of the supply chain can be reduced.
Let’s move forward Bangladesh.