Two ceramic factories to come back on stream
The country's two oldest ceramics factories, which were forced to shut down by severe gas crunch, are now set to resume operations soon.
Tajma Ceramic Industry in Bogra and Bengal Fine Ceramics at Savar near Dhaka faced closure for five years and two years respectively.
Tajma Ceramic's Chief Executive Officer Amjad Hossain Tajma said,
“We're hopeful of being fully commercially operational in two months, as our gas connection restored. However, the production has already been started on trial basis.”
The operation of Bengal Fine Ceramics is expected to resume after Eid, according to the factory authority.
Once those go into production, the country's annual ceramic output capacity will be raised to 30,000 tonnes from the present capacity of 25,000 tonnes, say the industry insiders.
With the aim to cater to the local demand, Tajma Ceramic first went into commercial production four years after its establishment in 1958 on high local demand for ceramic items. The usage of furnace oil turned out to be too expensive to continue production in the factory five years back.
Short supply of gas also caused a severe setback for the export-oriented Bengal Fine Ceramics, which first started production in 1986. It found no alternative to closing it down two years ago.
“We were forced to shut down the factory because of low pressure of gas,” said Rashed Maksud Khan, managing director of Bengal Fine Ceramics.
Khan said Titas has set up a new gas pipeline to supply energy in Savar area.
Bengal Fine Ceramics mainly produces stoneware dinner set and tableware, while Tajma produces porcelain tableware.
Bangladesh is increasingly gaining its foothold on global ceramics export market. Ceramic tableware exports in 2008 doubled the amount of $29 million the country fetched in 2001.
On the rise of middle and upper middle classes, domestic demand also upped.
This growing demand, both external and internal, helped springing up of about a dozen of ceramics factories in just two decades. These industries, particularly Monno and Shinepukur Ceramics, hold the majority stake of Bangladesh's export earnings.