Bangladesh is going to purchase six oceangoing cargo vessels from South Korea on a government-to- government-protocol basis, in a major move to boost its shipping capacity.
To be built and supplied by Daesun Shipbuilding & Engineers Ltd, the ships will cost US$53 million each.
The total price is $319 million to be paid in five instalments. Of the cost, 20 per cent will have to be paid during the contract signing.
According to the proposal, two of the ships will be delivered to Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) by 2025, and the rest four by 2026.
According to competent sources, the ship purchase will be done with concessional loan from the Korean government.
Recently, the Ministry of Shipping approved BSC's proposal for procuring the ships, and forwarded it to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) for processing the loan.
The ministry's project for purchasing ships was approved in 2016. Thereafter, the BSC took attempts to purchase ships from Denmark and China, but the bids failed.
The Danish government wanted to provide loan for the project but its interest rate was high.
Besides, Bangladesh sent a proposal to the Chinese government in 2021 for lending the funds to purchase five oceangoing container ships at a cost of $88 million each, but the Chinese government didn't respond.
While approving the proposal, the ministry said the purchase "will strengthen the country's shipping sector".
It will also help fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the officials said.
Incepted in 1972, the national flag-carrier BSC had procured 44 ships since. But the publicly listed company has only eight oceangoing ships at present.
"Considering huge expansion of the country's external trade, the number is very nominal," said one official.