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Chattogram Textile and Apparel Industry- Potential Industrial Hub that needs more care

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Textile Focus Chattogram Correspondent

Chattogram Textile and Apparel Industry is an untapped hub for enormous prospect. Chattogram T&A industry has good reputation in terms of lead time, cost of making and transport cost. The main attractive part is the Chattogram Port which is very close to the RMG industry. Chattogram Port is the main seaport of Bangladesh located on the bank of the Karnaphuli River, and is the core port of countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Chattogram T&A industry plays vital role for our economy by adding huge export volume. Recently Team Textile Focus visited this potential business hub and figured out the ongoing challenges, prospects, future planning and thoughts of industrialist from this area. According to local Textile and Apparel industry Leaders, Chattogram textile industry couldn’t lay out such development in last 2 decades as per the expectation. RMG Industry of Chattogram is very much famous to buyers for their on-time delivery and low lead time. Cost of making is also lower compared to the factories situated in Dhaka- Gazipur- Narayangonj- Mymensigh Region. This could have facilitated this industry for more investment and sustainable business growth. The business owners claimed that due to lack of proper support from Government, relevant organization, financial organization, high land price and some others deficiency restricted the growth of this area.

Here we have mentioned some Prominent Industry Leaders views and thoughts about this industry, challenges, and opportunities.

 well-groupTo keep this wheel moving, Government and all other subordinate organization must keep supporting us– Syed Nazrul Islam, First Vice President, BGMEA & Managing Director, Well Designers Ltd.”

As the country’s number one port city, Chattogram Couldn’t flourish itself as an industrial hub. Due to land scarcity and high price, entrepreneur shifted their investment to other areas. Due to pandemic, we have suffered a lot, however we have also invested a lot already to achieve our vison of earning $50 billion. Our capacity setup is almost done. But the price of product is 25-30% lower compared to the price of pre-pandemic. That’s why I fear that, we will be able to achieve the targeted export quantity for $50 billion but not in real monetary value. Our Main Challenges are- Land unavailability, lack of proper logistic support from Government organization, lack of policy support, complexity in Custom and Bond which increase lead time.

Textile and apparel industry is the wheel of our economy. To keep this wheel moving, Government and all other subordinate organization must keep supporting us. We need ease of restriction for importing trims and accessories for fashionable product. We want to develop our RMG industry more by decreasing lead time and accommodating new design for innovative production so that we can create more employment opportunity to support our economy.

hkc-group“If we can have all necessary support from respective organization then our Chattogram RMG industry will be a role model- Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, Vice President, BGMEA & Managing Director, HKC Apparels Ltd.”

Our new board of BGMEA is continuously trying to keep moving the growth of Chattogram Textile and Apparel Industry. In reality, port city of every country gets more preference for industrial development. Unfortunately, our CTG area was somehow lack behind, Communication barrier between capital city and Port city, inefficient road facility, insufficient international flights refrained buyers from coming here. Even we have to wait a lot as all the banks’ head quarter is in Dhaka. That’s why all together, we face some difficulties.  To establish a garments factory, entrepreneur need to have 24-25 certifications. And this process of certifications is too much complex. That’s why new generation don’t get motivated to face such hassle, which leads lack of new investment. Under the leadership of BGMEA current board, we are sincerely working hard to solve all those issues, we are catching sight of buyers and now the port congestion is much clearer. Several times lock down in different country created this disruption in the supply chain and we are recovering slowly. At The time, I would like to urge Government to complete the BAY terminal, Payra Port as soon as possible. If we can have all necessary support from respective organization then our Chattogram RMG industry will be a role model.

sonnet-textiles“Chattogram is a good zone for business and investment. I request buyers, stakeholders to invest more in our area- Gazi Md. Shahid Ullah, Director, BKMEA; Director, Sonnet Textile Industries Ltd”

In terms of geographical situation, Chattogram is a business-friendly zone. We have our own port facility, transport cost is lower compared to Dhaka, lead time is also lower than another Industrial zone.  However, there are also some issues to be addressed. Every industrial zone has some both positive and negative perspectives. Now a days people are more talking about, port problem, container congestion, and customs-bond issues are the burning problems. We are developing from low-income country to middle income country. To achieve export target 50 Billion dollar from clothing industry, Government officials and other correlated organizations have to work hand in hand. Our export growth is stumbled due to pandemic, we are facing supply chain disruption, high material cost, workers crisis as well.  As a director of BKMEA I urge to Government some financial support so that we can breathe, if we can run industry, 40 lakh workers and around 4 crore family members will live happily. And our economic growth will also be spontaneous. Chattogram is a good zone for business and investment. I request buyers, stakeholders to invest more in our area. Once the ongoing big projects namely, Matarbari Bay Terminal & Economic zone are completed, we will be self-contained.

cliftan-apparel“Buying house, Banks head office, decision makers are in Dhaka, that’s why we always face some miscommunication to implement the industry good practices.- M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury, Director, BGMEA & Managing Director, Clifton Apparels Ltd.”

Pandemic has severe effect on business. Its matter of hope that somehow, we could manage to run the industry last 2 years by taking loan from Bank. Raw material & transport cost have increased 3-4 times. Buyers are not paying according to CM. Our government, civil society and correspondent authority should come forward to solve this issue as early as possible. If we particularly talk about Chattogram’s Textile industry, in my opinion, during last 2 decades Chattogram industry growth is in negative mark. We didn’t receive that much investment for not being in central position like Dhaka. Buying house, Banks head office, decision makers are also in Dhaka, that’s why we always face some miscommunication to implement the industry good practices. But now, everyone can feel the importance of the growth of Port City Chattogram. I believe, if Anwara Economic Zone, BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIB Shilpo Nagar, Mirsarai, port Link Road, Tunnel, Bay terminal projects are completed then communication will be faster and we will see more industrial growth. Our economy will also be strong.

rsi-group“Chattogram is a city of opportunity as we are closed to port- Anjan Shekhar Das, Managing Director, RSI Group & Former Director BGMEA”

Chattogram is a city of opportunity as we are closed to port. Despite this positive side, we are somehow few steps behind as buyers usually don’t come to visit factories here in Chattogram. Our factories are also small compared to capitals’. Few years back, we used to face difficulties to show hospitality for buyers. Now we are having such facilities here also in Chattogram. Now we have realized that, it’s high time to drive for diversified value-added man-made fiber production. Immediately we need raw material industry in our locality. Cost of fund for investment in economic zone much higher for us compared to foreign investment. We need to resolve this point as well. As of now we realized that, if government give 10% incentives for manmade fiber industry, we can earn 2 billion dollars. Lack of Policy support from government, HS code problem in the port, compulsory bond license for small printing, embroidery factories also need to resolved, if we want chattogram as a dynamic economic hub.

children-place“We are looking for a new great talent who contribute in the Next Generation business- Lutful Ahad, Director, Children Place Ltd.”

It’s time for us to relocate to a new era, because we are doing a new project, which is in Anowara. This time right now is very challenging for us to move from all existed set up to a new setup, which is going to be the next industrial Hub for Chattogram. So, I welcome you all to encourage us. And we are looking for a new great talent who contribute in the Next Generation business, which is going to be a complete cut to pack automation.

Due to the severe effect of pandemic, our whole industry faced lots of difficulties. According to the feedback from Chattogram Textile and Apparel industrialists, major Challenges addressed are-

  • Communication Gap between Dhaka and Chattogram.
  • Inefficient Road Transport Facility.
  • No of Buying houses, Bank, and Government Organization Head office in Chattogram.
  • Land Scarcity and High Land Price.
  • Skilled Workers shortage.
  • Customs Bond Complexity.
  • Buyer’s negligence to visit Factory due to lack of international flight availability.

If these above-mentioned issues are resolved and ongoing big projects are completed within short time, we will see Chattogram as a role model for industrial hub very soon.