Chittagong-based S Alam Group will buy 20 ships from Western Marine Shipyard at Tk 250 crore.
Evergreen Shipping, a concern of S Alam Group, signed a deal with WMS in February this year.
Yesterday WMS started the construction through a keel-laying ceremony at its shipyard in Patiya upazila of Chittagong.
As per the contract, the ships will be delivered within the years.
“The vessels will be used for transporting imported commodities and raw materials from mother vessels at Kutubdia and outer anchorage of Chittagong Port to different factory destinations of S Alam Group,” Saiful Alam, chairman of the group, told The daily Star.
The movement of essential goods through river routes will be cost effective and benefit consumers, he said.
The vessels will be built under the supervision of Norwegian-German classification society DNV-GL to ensure global standard.
Each ship will be 60.6 metres in length and weigh 1,500 deadweight tonnage. The deal is considered one of the biggest in the country's shipbuilding history in terms of number of ships being built concurrently, according to WMS officials.
“Building these ships locally will help the country save foreign currencies and create 2,000 jobs,” said Sakhawat Hossain, managing director of Western Marine.
Hossain said the ships would play an important role in cutting demurrages slapped by the owners of mother vessels and thus reducing the prices of goods.
Evergreen Shipping Managing Director Mostan Billah Adil and S Alam Group directors Shahidul Alam and Rashedul Alam were present at the keel-laying ceremony.