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Shipping sector to thrive for blue economy

Published : 15 Nov 2020 10:21 PM | Updated : 16 Nov 2020 12:52 AM

To extract the untapped resources of the Blue Economy and get total advantage of ports and deep-sea ports, the government is keen to improve its shipping sector gradually. 

When ocean-based industries like shipping and others will be built they would contribute as key driving forces for flourishing country’s economy, experts said.

According to government information, in a recent meeting over ‘Blue Economy’ chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a proposal was placed to hire ships besides existing ships to carry out multiple surveys under the sea.

As per the meeting, to increase surveillance and extracting resources in the sea, 10 Long Liner and seven Purse Seine ships’ permission have been provided. Of the total, import permission has been given for four Purse Seine Ships and one Long Liner ship.

Based on another meeting on Blue Economy in October, it was learnt that the authority concerned is going to request Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for more vessels required in the vast sea areas.

It is to be noted, the Bay of Bengal is the lifeblood of Bangladesh's total shipping sector. Bangladesh has been able to gain absolute sovereignty over a vast sea area of more than 1,18,813 square kilometers, maintaining control over 200 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This has opened the door to a multi-faceted blue-economy.

Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University, Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal told Bangladesh Post that enriched shipping sector is vital for extracting resources from the untapped blue economy.

“If we look at our development activities, we will see many ports and deep seaports are being constructed in our country. In near future our economy will largely depend on the sea. Huge employment opportunities will be generated as well. It is mentionable that around 95 percent of the total export-import being conducted through waterways,” he added.

“We must have strong research and analysis to have a competitive shipping sector and extracting marine resources. Dedicated vessels are essential for marine research. Right now we are dependent on foreign countries for skill and expertise. But as our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established Maritime University, we hope we will have our own experts in this sector in future, he concluded.

Prominent economist Professor Muhammad Sekandar Khan said, “The geographical position of our country has got enough significance and potentiality for the Bay of Bengal. The economy of Bangladesh will be more prosperous if the opportunities and potentials of the marine resources as a whole, especially the shipping sector, are utilized through a proper plan. There are many opportunities to exploit the vast seas and its resources with the upgradation of the shipping industry.”

For sea-related infrastructural development, the country will need heavy engineering jetties, survey ships, tugboats, container vessels, fishing trawlers, offshore patrol vessels, LCTs, barges, shipping, port technology, LNG terminals, etc. In these cases, the shipbuilding industry has already successfully participated in various development projects, both public and private.

Engr Md. Sakhawat Hossain, director of Western Marine Shipyard said, “At the moment we have limited equipment and transportation systems to explore the resources under the Bay. But we have the technical knowledge, skills, and expert teams, who can play an effective role in this. Our shipbuilding sector can do that very comfortably”.