Asianbangla, Dhaka : Bangladesh Shipping Corporation is in the process of purchasing new bulk carriers for its fleet after about 27 years.
The first of the six Chinese vessels would be delivered by the supplier on July 5.
The vessels, three of which are oil tankers and the rest freighters, are being bought from China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation.
Each of the vessels is of 39,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT).
The total cost of the project is Tk 1,843.58 crore. China will provide financial assistance for the purchase under a government-to-government concessional loan.
The vessel to be received in July is called Banglar Joyjatra, BSC Managing Director Commodore Yahya Syed told The Daily Star.
The rest–Banglar Samriddhi, Banglar Arjan, Banglar Agrajatra, Banglar Agradoot and Banglar Agragoti–would be delivered on August 25, December 18, November 2, December 18 this year and February 14 next year.
Of the total cost, China would provide Tk 1,448.32 crore. The BSC would bear the remaining expenses including those of appointing a supervising team in China, bank charges, taxes and VAT.
MV Banglar Shikha, purchased in 1991, was the last vessel added to the fleet of the state-owned operator, which currently has only two lighterage tankers.
The BSC had ended up selling 36 vessels in last few years after incurring losses.
The process of purchasing the six ships began in September 2011 when China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) made a proposal to supply them with financial assistance from the Chinese government. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between BSC and CMC on June 15, 2012.
A financial agreement for procuring the ships was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh in 2016.
Addressing a press conference at the BSC Bhaban in the port city last month, Commodore Yahya told reporters about several projects taken up to procure more bulk carriers and oil tankers for carrying crude oil, coal and LNG.
He expressed hope of saving a huge amount of foreign currency through the projects.
The BSC made a profit of Tk 8.65 crore in 2016-17 fiscal and Tk 6.72 crore in the previous one.
He added that the BSC board of directors recommended 10 percent cash dividend for 2016-17 for its shareholders. The proposal was approved at its annual general meeting last month.