Beximco yesterday opened its $100-million PPE Park in Savar where the leading company will produce personal protective equipment (PPE).
"The new facility shall help manufacturers, buyers, retailers, brands and the government with required services since all the services will be available under one roof encompassing European, American and other global regulatory standards," Beximco CEO Syed Naved Husain said at the inauguration ceremony.
"This should help us realise our vision of seeing Bangladesh as the largest manufacturer and exporter of PPE products."
The Park will serve both domestic and international markets and is aimed at increasing the diversity of the supply of PPE, ensuring that it is not totally dependent on any one country, he said while hosting the event.
"Beximco has steadily contributed to Bangladesh's meteoric rise as a manufacturing hub in South Asia. I am delighted with the new development since it would place Bangladesh on the world's PPE manufacturing map."
The PPE park converts granules to melt-blown as well as laminated fabrics in different weights, the company said in a statement.
The fabric is later used to manufacture isolation and surgical gowns disposable sterile and non-sterile, reusable isolation gowns, N95 cup type and foldable type masks, surgical masks, disposable scrubs, woven and knitted shoe covers and head covers, reusable scrubs with water repellent treatment.
The 25-acre park is an advanced fully vertical PPE manufacturing facility. The construction and certification of the site took six months from groundbreaking to certification and full production.
Beximco Group, through its new Beximco Health division, has agreements to supply PPE, including masks and protective gowns, to major US healthcare service providers.
Intertek and Beximco have developed the PPE Centre of Excellence at Beximco Health in the PPE Industrial Park in Dhaka.
The Centre of Excellence PPE lab has a covered area of 12,000 square feet with major sections of physical testing (respiratory analysis), chemical testing and micro-biological testing, ensuring that it meets the regulatory and quality assurance requirements of PPE manufacturers across Bangladesh.
This is Intertek's, a 130-year-old leader in testing, most advanced PPE lab capable of testing all levels to comply with the US, EU and UK standards, according to the statement.
"The quality assurance prowess of Intertek has helped the cause immensely since it tackles the regulatory issues and has further cemented our relationship," the Beximco CEO said.
"This is not the first time Beximco has risen to the challenge of a disrupted supply chain," US Ambassador Earl R Miller said while inaugurating the park.
This shows that Bangladeshi enterprises have the capability to move beyond readymade garments in producing exportable goods, he said.
It also demonstrates the ability of the Bangladesh labour force to produce goods meeting the exacting standards of the healthcare industry, the envoy said.
Last year, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, Beximco pivoted from producing garments to protective equipment within a matter of weeks, learning the specialized fabrication techniques, setting up production lines, and producing 6.5 million gowns for distribution in the United States through the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The ambassador noted the Beximco plant will add to the robust and growing bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the United States.
According to the most recent estimates, Bangladesh annually ships $6.7 billion in goods to America, nearly twice as much as it did a decade earlier.
However, the value of US products exported to Bangladesh has grown fourfold in the same period. "Our two nations share a common perspective on the value of trade and free enterprise in a nation's progress. Beximco represents these values." Miller said.
On teaming up with Beximco, André Lacroix, CEO of Intertek, said: "As a purpose-led company, Intertek's mission is to make the world a better and safer place by bringing quality, safety and sustainability to life."
"That is why we are extending our partnership with Beximco by establishing a new state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence to ensure its vital PPE products are able to meet the highest risk-based quality assurance standards," he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen global demand for PPE rise significantly, along with the need for end-to-end testing and certification solutions for protective clothing and other PPE equipment.
"With Beximco becoming a key player in the manufacture of PPE globally, I am confident the next stage in our partnership will help make the world an ever-safer, ever-better place in these challenging times."
The opening ceremony was also attended by Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the Directorate General of Drug Administration; Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, and Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, chairman of the National Board of Revenue.