Chorka Textile Ltd (CTL), a sister concern of the Pran-RFL conglomerate, is expecting to double its export earnings within the next two years thanks to growing global demands for knitwear, especially lingerie items.
CTL has already introduced double-shift operations in a couple of its departments like cutting and finishing, and planned to fully introduce the same shortly.
Instead of making fresh investments in setting up new factories, the company has planned to make the best use of its existing capacities to meet the buyers' increased demand.
"Once we are able to fully start two-shift production a day, US$200 million exports earnings is possible within the next two years," Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, chairman and chief executive officer of Pran-RFL group, said on Saturday.
He was talking to reporters while sharing his group's expansion plan in the textile and readymade garment sector.
One of the main challenges to enhance the production capacity is the availability of required workers, he said, adding that the CTL currently employs around 7000 workers.
Additional 7,000 workers would be needed for double-shift production, he said, informing that there is a scarcity of both skilled and unskilled workers.
Local RMG, especially lingerie items, have huge demands in the world market and orders are coming here in the country, he noted.
About 30 per cent of Chorka's 130-line production capacity currently produces lingerie items, Mr Chowdhury added.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, the country fetched $ 1.23 billion from lingerie items exports in the last fiscal year (FY).
The global market size for lingerie items is around $ 42 billion, according to Mr Chowdhurty.
In the last FY, Chorka earned US$ 90 million from exporting value-added items like sleepwear, underwear, activewear, swimmingwear and other knitwear items.
The group has so far invested TK 5.0 billion in its vertically integrated garment business-one in Narshingdi and the other in Habiganj. The Habiganj unit supplies fabric to CTL, he noted.
CTL, the export-oriented manufacturer of readymade garments including lingerie products, is located in Kazir Char, Danga and Narshingdi that covers an area of 150 bighas of land.
"We started the garment business five years back and found a huge opportunity to grow both in this trade and other sectors. Also, we learned many things like labour productivity and efficiency, marketing, management development and industrial engineering that are replicating in our other businesses too," Mr Chowdhury said.
The garment factory has less worker migration as the company provides a number of benefits including lunch, incentives on performance and provident fund facility. A worker gets lunch on payment of only TK 5.0.
Terming RMG a role model, the group chief said the government should provide equal facilities to other sectors as given to the RMG sector to help them grow and earn more foreign currency.