On 14 January, Gentium and Damen Shipyards Group inked a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industry to “establish and develop a shipbuilding and ship repair industry in the country” with the ultimate goal of driving Dhaka’s maritime exports.
According to a press release by Damen Shipyards Group, the MoU will see both Damen and Gentium carry out a number of tasks in Bangladesh, including: the construction of a shipbuilding and repair facility built to global environmental and building standards and transfer-of-technology.
Damen Shipyards Group expects the MoU will create “significant training and employment opportunities within Bangladesh,” especially within the country’s growing shipbuilding industry.
In September 2019, the Government of Bangladesh set a goal to export $4 billion US in shipbuilding goods and services by 2024. The country’s industry hopes the key drivers of this export growth would come from complex ship designs, such as dock landing ships (LSD), LNG carriers, and chemical tankers, among others.
In tandem with this policy, Bangladesh is also working to prioritize locally sourced shipbuilding materials, enabling it to build ships on a more turn-key basis and, in turn, better control cost and prices.
Muhammad Saiful Islam, the Chairman of Western Marine Shipyard (which is among Bangladesh’s leading shipyards) projected that the domestic shipbuilding industry will add 20,000 new jobs by 2023, and up to as many as 100,000 jobs by 2028. As of 2018, 69 shipyards of varying sizes are operating in Bangladesh.
The Gentium and Damen Shipyards MoU is a sign of mounting foreign interest in investing in Bangladesh’s shipbuilding industry, which could help propel the country its growth objectives. Dhaka also has the option of tying future naval procurement with extensive offsets and transfer-of-technology, so as to provide its industry with more exposure to emerging ship design and construction trends.