Published at: The Daily Star, March 10, 2019
Tiger Steel Bangladesh plans to open a new prefabricated steel manufacturing plant in April.
The company has already spent Tk 20 crore on the factory being built on a 5.5-bigha land at Bhaluka in Mymensingh, said a top official of the company.
Another Tk 180 crore will be invested in the next two years, said Liton Kumar Sharma, managing director of the company.
“We have already imported necessary equipment and capital machinery from Korea and China and now the installation work is going on,” he said.
A prefabricated building consists of factory-made components or steel that are transported and assembled on-site to form the complete structure.
According to Sharma, Southeast Bank is providing 30 percent of the cost to set up the new unit, which will produce 100 tonnes of prefabricated steel sections every day and the amount will increase gradually.
“We will manufacture prefabricated steel sections that can only be used for construction of buildings and industrial sheds,” said Sharma, adding that the raw materials would be imported from China, India and Korea.
The company expects to create over 800 direct and indirect jobs once its new unit goes into operation, he said.
Sharma said the sector had been annually growing on an average by 15 to 20 percent in the last 10 years and it has a Tk 4,000 crore worth market now. Just 10 years ago, the market size of prefabricated steel was only Tk 2,000 crore, according to the Steel Building Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh.
He said the annual demand for prefabricated steel in Bangladesh is around 10 lakh tonnes and local manufacturers could produce only 4 to 5 lakh tonnes. “The rest comes from India, China, Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.”
He said steel structures started to erect in Bangladesh in 1985 with the components being initially imported.
In 2001, local entrepreneurs first took up the initiative to build steel buildings by themselves, according to industry insiders.
Now there are at least 30 local prefabricated steel makers in Bangladesh, each manufacturing specific items. According to Sharma, prefabricated steel was gaining popularity as it enabled rapid construction of structures which could withstand earthquakes.
Besides, the construction cost of these buildings is 25-30 percent lower compared to the concrete structures. He further said industrialists preferred prefabricated buildings as those were portable and the steel had resale value.