Bangladesh, known for the gruelling ship breaking yards in the southwest of the country, it is unaware that they have a booming shipbuilding industry, a supposed hero to the Bangladeshi economy in the future and placing them in the eyes of an international audience.
Western Marine Shipyard, located in Chittagong, starting in 1994 as an umbrella group of the Western Marine group, in 2000 the company was founded with its own slipway.is one of the largest and leading shipyards in Bangladesh.Providing vessels for countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.
In complete contrasts to the ship breaking industry, the 3500 skilled and unskilled men working at Western Marine, are given state of the art equipment, 24/7 medical and safety equipment along with meal breaks.
It is estimated that 55 percent of the worlds small ships are aged over 20 years, meaning they need to be replaced within the next few years, and Bangladesh will be the largest beneficiary because of low labor costs.
In complete contrasts to the ship breaking industry, the 3500 skilled and unskilled men working at Western Marine have access to 24 hours medical services, they have safety equipment, meal breaks and better pay rates along with state of the art equipment, such as the CNC machine and metal bending machines.
Although Bangladesh has so far been largely immune to the effects of the global economic crisis, the shipbuilding business has felt a small slowdown with a German firm cancelling orders for four ships worth US$42 million.
It is estimated that one in four employees have recently returned from shipbuilding yards abroad, most after losing jobs through cuts due to contract defaults and delayed orders amid the recession.
It is seen as gain for shipbuilding in Bangladesh, because workers return to their home country, and the shipbuilding yards benefit from their knowledge abroad aswell as getting a decent salary at home, even though lower than working away.
It is predicted that Bangladeshi shipbuilders could explore a market worth nearly US$ 50 billion globally, provided the government take necessary steps to upgrade the country’s shipbuilding yards as per international standards and environmental compliances all round.