Booming Bangladeshi dredging market
Leads Western Engineering to invest in six Damen Cutter Suction Dredgers
With the dredging market in Bangladesh having grown exponentially in the last few years, Western Engineering (Pvt.) Ltd (WEL) has committed to a substantial fleet investment programme.
This follows the Bangladesh Government’s mandate to dredge all the major river routes to restore and maintain navigability, and/or increase water retention for the dry seasons in the many rivers and large water bodies.
Established in 1998, WEL was founded by Managing Director Bashir Ahmed with the aim of significantly contributing to the development of Bangladesh by participating in nation building projects undertaken by the government. The company is involved in a wide variety of projects including the construction of roads and bridges, as well as hydraulic structures and water control structures, capital & maintenance dredging and land reclamation works. The company places a special emphasis on adopting a sustainable approach in all aspects of its business dealings.
Munazzeel Riasat, WEL Director of Dredging, explains that the government’s recent mandate has led to a boom in investment in the dredging market with more than 40 dredgers being imported from various dredger manufacturers within the last two years.
Own dredging division
“In view of the Government of Bangladesh’s recen initiative to undertake major dredging projects, WEL started its own dredging division, Western Dredge (WD) in 2014.”
Since the time of its inception, Western Dredge has acquired an impressive fleet of cutter suction dredgers from various internationally recognised dredger manufacturers such as Damen, he says.
Currently, the Western Dredge fleet consists of 15 cutter suction dredgers and various other supporting vessels. “These are operated by a team of highly experienced and motivated individuals with the support of a proactive management team,” Mr Riasat emphasises.
The company has been engaged in several high profile capital and maintenance dredging projects in Bangladesh. “We are proud to have undertaken and successfully discharged the capital and subsequent maintenance dredging operations for Mongla Port navigational channel, and we are currently engaged in capital and subsequent maintenance dredging operations for the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant navigational channel, as well as maintenance dredging operations for some major ferry routes in Bangladesh. And several other projects will be undertaken in the near future.”
With the growth in the dredging market, the company has embarked on an ambitious fleet expansion programme. Just this year alone, Western Dredge is acquiring six Damen cutter suction dredgers. The company purchased its first two Damen CSDs 500 in January and then added four more.
Two have already arrived and been allocated to dredging projects and the remaining dredgers are all expected to be active on sites by mid-October.
WEL is a new client to Damen. The partnership began following correspondence with Damen’s local consultant in Bangladesh and subsequent visits from Damen’s Regional Sales Director, Rabien Bahadoer. “We were able to establish that Damen has a trusted name in the dredger manufacturing industry and as a result we decided that we would work with Damen as a supplier for our dredging operations,” says Mr Riasat. Commenting on why the company chose Damen for its new vessels, he adds: “Damen’s organizational strength, its production facilities around the world, its ability to deliver high quality cutter suction dredgers and dredging equipment from stock, as well as local technical service centre support persuaded us to embark on our partnership with Damen.”
He goes on to explain that the company faces a host of challenges in its day-to-day operations due to the challenging working conditions it encounters. “Therefore, in terms of dredger performance, key areas of focus are usually the maximisation of dredge production volume, reduction of fuel consumption, maximisation of the dredging operational hours compared to engine operational hours, etc.”
The new Damen dredgers will aid us in increasing our dredging production potential in the face of an everincreasing requirement for the same, he points out.
Western Dredge has high expectations with regard to the Damen CSD500, he says, adding: “We expect a high quality product which allows our crew maximum potential to optimise performance and production, fuel efficiency in production and that they have a long duration of useful life.”
Vitally important for the company is the quality of the product itself, its production capacity and fuel consumption rates in comparison with other competitors, frequency of breakdowns etc. “These are the factors we consider as crucial to maximising our company’s efficiency and ability to deliver successful outcomes for our clients’ needs.”
The company also has high expectations from Damen. “As a world renowned supplier of dredgers and other vessels, we expect Damen to hold itself to the highest standards in terms of product quality, sales service and after-sales service efficiency. “It is vitally important for Damen to maintain highly skilled service engineers as well as a sufficient quantity and variety of spare parts in Bangladesh to support its vessels.”
Damen’s after-sales service was also a very important factor in choosing the right supplier, he adds. “Damen’s commitment to providing quality after-sales service is one of the factors which determined our choice.”
Damen will assist with training the crew. “Some training is part of its sales service, and this is vitally important in acquainting our crew with the new dredger’s operational methods to maximize operational output.”
“To date, our experience working with Damen has been a positive one, we are pleased with Damen’s commitment towards providing not only high quality equipment but also high quality after-sales service and training.”
Mr Riasat is hopeful regarding prospects for the company. “Our future expectation is that while there will be large investments in dredging projects by the government, the market will be a competitive one due to several new entrants joining the dredging scene. We, however, hope that due to Western Dredge’s early start in this newly flourishing sector we possess a competitive advantage that will allow us to rise to the top of the dredging market here in Bangladesh.”
Since its inception in 1998, WEL has completed more than 30 different types of projects with an approximate project value of 1.32 billion Euros. WEL has been awarded with a ‘special contribution award’ in recognition of its commitment and steadfast dedication to delivering high quality performance in discharging its projects. WEL currently employs over 500 personnel engaged in 36 different projects throughout Bangladesh.