Shipbuilders yesterday demanded 10 percent cash incentives against ex-port performance, up from 5 percent now, to help the sector grow further.
The global market size of ships and ocean-going vessels was over $300 billion in 2011 where Bangladesh, as a new entrant to ship business, exported ships worth $45.95 million in 2011-12, up 13 percent than the previous fiscal year.
Major markets for Bangladesh-made ships and vessels are Denmark, Germany, Finland, England, Japan, Mozambique and Pakistan.
“The shipyards in Bangladesh now have the capacity to build export-oriented ships and vessels worth $600 million. But we need policy support from the government to exploit the opportunity,” said Abdullahel Bari, president of the Association of Export Oriented Shipbuilding Industries of Bangladesh (AEOSIB).
Bari spoke at a seminar on “Problems in exporting ship from Bangladesh and their solution”, jointly organised by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and AEOSIB, at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital.
“We need 10 percent incentive against our export performance because the cost of fund is very high for us,” he said.
Bangladesh can earn $2 billion by exporting ships and vessels in the next five years if both government and private sector efforts are put in place, said Bari, who is also the chairman of Ananda Shipyard and Slipways Ltd.
Nearly 70 percent orders were cancelled in China, the leading ship exporting country, for the US financial meltdown and the ongoing debt crisis in the Eurozone, said Saiful Islam, chairman of Western Marine Shipyard Ltd.
The orders in Bangladesh were not cancelled, but it is taking time for maturing up for new orders, he said, adding that the country is losing its competitive edge for higher cost of fund.
“We have to look into the matter seriously whether we are following the rules of the International Maritime Organisation or not to increase exports of ships and vessels.”
“Bangladesh is not new in shipbuilding and ship exporting. The sector lost its shine a bit, but it is rebounding now with the effort of some entrepreneurs,” said Commerce Minister GM Quader.
Quader urged the businessmen not to be highly dependent on the government and asked them to recommend steps to help the sector flourish.
Industries Minister Dilip Barua said the government is preparing a shipbuilding policy as the sector is thriving at a faster rate.
Acting Commerce Secretary ATM Murtozaa Reza Chowdhury chaired the session where EPB Vice-chairman Shubhashish Bose also spoke.
-With The Daily Star input