CHATTOGRAM, June 07: The Western Marine Shipyard (WMS) Limited of Bangladesh and the Shalimar Works Limited of Kolkata have teamed up to build 60 inland ships.
The ships will be built as part of a major programme undertaken by the government of India's Pashchimbanga (West Bengal) state to restore and activate National Waterways-01 of India.
The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this end at Rajya Paribahan Club in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, on Wednesday.
Managing Director of Western Marine Sakhawat Hossain and Managing Director of Shalimar Works Shomdeb Chottopadhay signed the MoU.
Transport Minister of West Bengal Shubhendru Odhikari, Transport Secretary Alapon Bondhopaddhay and Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata Toufik Hasan were present at the signing ceremony.
Established in 1885, Shalimar Works Limited is one of the oldest shipyards in the private sector in India.
It was later taken over by the Government of West Bengal in 1980. Since then, the shipyard has been building ships for the Indian Navy.
Recently, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) awarded tender to Shalimar Works for building 60 ships.
To achieve this, Shalimar Works will be working jointly with Western Marine Shipyard on a 26/74 per cent partnership.
Western Marine will provide technical expertise and know-how to Shalimar Works while Shalimar will provide infrastructure support.
Each ship will be 600 DWT (Deadweight Tonnage) to 2500 DWT capacity vessels and will cost Tk 50 million to 200 million.
The Indian government is also working to restore four other major national waterways of India. Eventually, 600 ships will be required to operate in these routes to carry goods domestically.
The governments of both the countries are hopeful that this venture will help increase bilateral trade.