Shipbuilding in Bangladesh has become a major industry in recent years. Bangladesh has over 200 shipbuilding companies, mostly concentrated in Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal and Khulna. One big shipyard in Dhaka is located on the riverbank of the Buriganga River just opposite of the Sadarghat in Old Dhaka. This dockyard is in the town of Keranigonj where the working environment and the lifestyle are frighteningly dangerous which is full of industrial activities. Around 20,000 workers work here every day and it’s a matter of great regret that the labor charge is too tiny to bear the living expenses which is around $8.00 per day.
The workers usually break down the massive ships as well as create new ships from the parts. Workers can be seen with the torches and the welding equipment doing their job of departing huge pieces of metal sheets from the vessels. Some can be seen busy in painting ships or making propellers of large ships. Others can be seen strolling along the high edges of the ship decks. The only thing is keeping them away from falling down is their own balance. Besides, there are some workshops making and repairing small parts of a ship. Proper safety of the workers seems not to be ensured in this yard and that’s why injuries are common things to occur in here but the process and the activities never stop.
Bangladesh lies squarely in the middle of the waterlogged floodplains of some of Asia’s largest rivers and relies on water transportation to ship huge quantities of goods and vast numbers of people up and down the watery arteries that traverse the country. It is no surprise, therefore, that shipping and other maritime industries play a significant part in underpinning the economy. Until recently, however, Bangladesh was best known for ship-breaking, with huge scrap yards lining the coast for miles near Chittagong, the second largest ship breaking area in the world, accounting for one fifth of all global ship-breaking and employing nearly a quarter of a million Bangladeshis. Any ships that were actually built domestically were destined for the country’s rivers and often had a poor safety record, sinking ferries being an all too familiar phenomenon on the crowded waterways.
In recent years, the country’s ship builders have been slowly edging their way up the ranks of ship exporters, selling to highly competitive markets such as Germany and Denmark. Moreover, Bangladeshi ship builders are confident of their competitive advantage over their rivals, pointing to the large numbers of skilled workers and low labour costs.