BSC to procure 6 vessels with govt funding, offload more shares to raise fund
Bangladesh Shipping Corporation has taken a highly ambitious plan to build up a fleet of 17 vessels by the year 2011. The plan was prepared as part of its endeavour for balancing and modernizing the BSC fleet through replacement and expansion process, highly placed sources in thecorporation told the FE. The number and types of ships to be procured might be: 1) One mother tanker of 100,000 to 125,000 MT, 2) Two product cargo vessels of 30,000 to 35,000 MT each, 3) Two bulk cargo vessels of 30,35,000 MT each and 4) One container feeder vessel of 1,000 TEUs.
The total cost of the second-hand vessels not aged over 10 years will stand at around Tk 12,000 million (1200 crore) and the budget for procuring three vessels, that is, a mother tanker and two product cargo vessels, at an estimated cost of Tk 7000 million (700 crore) is likely to be allocated in the next fiscal budget, sources said.
A mother tanker has always been felt as a crying need of the BSC but it could not procure a mother tanker in its life of 39 years. But the BSC has been chartering a mother tanker to bring home the government imported crude oil for a long time at the drainage of huge foreign exchange from the national exchequer.
The cost of hiring a mother tanker for carrying imported crude oil was Tk 1700 million (170 crore) last year while it will stand at around Tk 2000 million (200 crore) this year, BSC officials said.
BSC in a bid to raise fund had decided to offload more shares in the capital market this year. "The process of releasing IPO (initial public offering) has started but it will take several months to complete all formalities," GM (Operation and DPA) AHM Mamun said.
It will initially release new shares for Tk 627 million (62.70 crore) after paying up the government equity following enhancement of its authorized and paid-up capital. But in course of time all the 49 per cent shares of the BSC will be released in the capital market, he said.
Meanwhile, BSC has enhanced its authorized capital to Tk 4000 million (400 crore) from Tk 250 million (25 crore) and paid-up capital to Tk 3500 million (350 crore) from Tk 200 million (20 crore), he added.
As on 18 March 2010, the BSC has a fleet of 13 vessels with a sizeable capacity of around 150,000 tons. The fleet comprises 10 general/multipurpose cargo vessels, one container feeder and two lightering tankers. Most of the vessels have crossed their economic life as the average age of them is 26.50 years now, a senior official said.
A record of the last four years indicates that 70 per cent of its fleet ships remained in Chittagong harbour and in anchorage doing almost nothing but in the dock for repairing and awaiting instructions. Manpower of around 400 in the offices and more than 200 in the ships are four times compared to any other shipping company in the private sector.
Present global market is fully dependent on container ships but the BSC has withdrawn four of its container ships namely Banglar Robi, Banglar Urmi, Banglar Moni and Banglar Shikha from the feeder service. Sources said that presently five BSC ships are on charter.