Local companies display strength of global standard
The contribution of local construction companies and building material suppliers to establishing the third terminal of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) is proof of their capacity to provide world-class products and services, according to industry people.
More than 20 local firms, including realtors and steel makers, participated in constructing the third terminal, which aims to significantly expand the passenger and cargo handling capacity of the HSIA.
And while the new terminal is set for completion by the end of next year, passenger operations partially commenced yesterday following a soft opening by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Concord Group, a pioneering realtor in Bangladesh, was in charge of around 60 per cent of the civil engineering works of the iconic project.
Shahriar Kamal, managing director of Concord, said they had to implement sophisticated technology during construction, gathering a lot of new experiences in the process.
According to him, Concord constructed 1.6 million square feet of the structure's roughly 3.8 million square feet area.
He added that their achievement in completing the assignment within just 18 months is equivalent to constructing 20 buildings of 15 storeys each within the same timeframe.
McDonald Steel Building Products Limited, a local pioneer in structural steel fabrication, provided prefabricated steel structures for the project.
"We constructed export and import cargo buildings with our own prefabricated steel structures, which are of global standard," said Md Abid Hossain, project director of McDonald Steel.
"We provided a significant quantity of prefabricated steel structures for these buildings under our subcontract," he added.
However, Hossain alleged that even though local companies have attained the required quality and capacity, they were still denied the scope to supply steel for the main building of the third terminal.
He pointed out that the Japanese contractors responsible for implementing the Dhaka Metro Rail and Bangabandhu Railway Bridge projects used locally made prefabricated steel structures in their construction after ensuring that the products' quality was of global standard.
With this backdrop, Hossain urged the government to give international and local companies an equal opportunity to provide their products for such projects.
This is because contracting local companies with proven experience in delivering products of proper quality in a timely manner would help the country save foreign exchange and build up the capacity of domestic industries, he said.
RFL Group supplied pipes, fittings and fire detection systems worth a total of around Tk 60 crore for the HSIA third terminal project.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, director of marketing at PRAN-RFL Group, said only imported materials were once used in government projects.
"But now, the capacity of local companies has increased," he added.
Kamal informed that RFL's pipes and fittings, which are currently being exported to the US and other countries, were used in the terminal's water supply and electrical pipelines.
According to him, these products are being made with high quality raw materials in compliance with global standards.
"Moreover, RFL's firefighting equipment has been used for the first time in a mega project," he said.
"We have gained a lot of experience by being involved in the supply and replacement of the fire detection systems in this project," Kamal added.
Concord Group and ABC Group were involved in constructing a major portion of the third terminal's main building while Mir Akhtar Hossain Ltd established a portion of the apron area, said Abdul Malek, chief engineer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
He also said Amin Mohammad Foundation was involved with interior works for the third terminal while Arenas was tasked with providing the airport ground lighting.
"All types of internal cables were provided by BRB Cable Industries," said Rafiqul Islam Rony, director for marketing and sales at the company.
Among the steel makers, BSRM, AKS, GPH Ispat, Anwar Ispat and KSRM provided mild-steel rods for the construction of the iconic third terminal.
"We supplied epoxy coated bars and reinforced bars that no one else makes in Bangladesh. We developed these products specially for this project," said Tapan Sengupta, deputy managing director of BSRM.
The project requires a total of about 90,000 tonnes of steel, of which they still need purchase more than 10,000 tonnes for pending works.
"We provided a significant quantity of the required steel," Sengupta said, adding that they have been recognised by Samsung as a "global partner" as a steel supplier.
Among the local cement makers, Seven Circles, Shah Cement, and Premier Cement provided the lion's share of cement for the project.
Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director of Premier Cement, said there is no mega project where local cement manufacturers were not involved in supplying the key construction material.