The state-owned Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) has a plan to procure four large oil-tankers and two bulk carriers each having capacity between 80,000 and 125,000 dead-weight tonnes (DWT), officials said on Monday.
The BSC will buy the vessels in order to carry oil and coal. The demand for these two fossil fuel is growing in the country, said Managing Director of BSC Commodore Yahya Syed.
The national-flag carrier has requested the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to manage necessary funds for purchasing the ocean-going vessels.
The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) officials said the corporation has proposed to take up a project at a cost of Tk 21.86 billion (US$ 260.64 million) to procure the vessels.
According to the project plan, the BSC will buy two crude oil mother-tankers each having 100,000-125,000 DWT capacity and two oil-tankers and two coal bulk-carriers each having 80,000 DWT capacity.
"Bangladesh's oil and coal requirement will be growing in the future days. So, as a state-run agency we are taking preparations to carry those items from overseas markets to the country," Commodore Syed told the FE.
"Usually the foreign shipping lines and oil-tankers carry oil and other products to Bangladesh. If we can increase the size of our fleet as a local company, it will save a significant amount of foreign currency," he added.
Meanwhile, the BSC has procured six ocean-going vessels from China, each with 39,000 DWT capacity. China has provided loan to buy the ships - three oil-tankers and three bulk-carriers.
Another BSC official said four oil-tankers have already been added to their fleet, while another two oil-tanker and bulk-carrier will reach the country by next month (March).
The BSC MD said earlier they set a target to buy a total of 32 ocean-going vessels for enhancing the capacity of its fleet by 2041.
"Bangladesh's two seaports Chittagong and Mongla are now handling nearly 4,000 ships a year. All the major foreign and private shipping lines are carrying goods to and from the country. We hope to save a huge amount of foreign currency by raising the capacity of our fleet," he added.
The BSC, as a struggling entity, has been incurring a substantial amount of loss over the years due to inefficiency of its staff and shortage of vessel.
The BSC officials said the present administration of the organisation is trying to increase its fleet through purchasing new vessels and tankers to gradually overcome the loss.
They also said BSC had only five flag-carrier vessels and oil-tankers for transporting export-import goods across the globe. Four new vessels from China have been added recently.
Previously, it has two oil-tankers -- each with 10,000 DWT capacity, two bulk-carrier vessels -- each with 12,000-13,000 DWT capacity, and one container vessel - with 600 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) capacity,.
The BSC is now providing services to the public and private sector exporters and importers.
Especially, it is providing services to the Food Directorate to carry foods, the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to carry oil, and the Ministry of Industries to carry fertilisers.
As per the government rules, Bangladeshi flag carriers will transport 50 per cent of the country's export-import goods. But, BSC is able to transport only an insignificant volume of the total transported goods due to inadequate number of vessels under its ownership, said MoS officials.
The BSC officials said if they can procure the oil-tankers, bulk-carriers, container vessels and LNG carriers, these will make BSC more capable and help to offset the loss incurred earlier.
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