Saif Powertec Limited is going to launch a direct container shipping service on Chattogram-United Arab Emirates route, slashing the shipping time to 18 days from current 45 and reducing freight cost by $150-$200 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU).
Three of Saif Powertec vessels will sail from Dubai in the UAE in November, said a top company official.
Its subsidiary Saif Maritime LLC, which is registered in Dubai, signed a deal with AD Port Group's Safeen Feeder on Monday to take three container vessels on a lease for 15 years.
Imports from Dubai now come to Chattogram via Sri Lanka's Colombo port. The consignments are unloaded from the mother vessel and then loaded into smaller feeder vessels in Colombo. Export consignments are also sent to Dubai via Colombo.
The Colombo transshipment pushes up both the freight cost and shipping time. The direct service will cut out the freight handling charges and time at the Lankan port.
"The cargo shipping agreement with Safeen Feeder is a milestone for our businesses," Saif Powertec Managing Director Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin told The Business Standard.
Saif Powertec ships will be carrying 1,700 TEUs of goods on each trip, and commute from Chattogram to Dubai every ten days, said Ruhul Amin who represented the company in the deal signing in Dubai.
According to Saif Powertec, each of the ships will fetch the company Tk200 crore as the profit would be around Tk25 crore annually.
Currently, Bangladesh exports readymade garments, medical equipment and processed food to Dubai. Besides, various products including spare parts are imported.
According to the central bank and the Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh's import from the UAE was around $1,325 million in FY21 and export around $495 million. In FY22, the export was $864 million; the import data was not available.
In April this year, Saif Powertec as the first Bangladeshi company took three bulk carriers from Safeen Feeder on lease to operate the shipping business from abroad.
Under the lease agreement, the two companies will work closely to facilitate trade and cargo services from UAE's Fujairah Port to Bangladeshi ports over a period of 15 years. The capacity of each of the bulk carriers is 55,000 deadweight tonnage.
For this, Saif Powertec has launched a subsidiary company named Saif United Shipping & Trading in the UAE.
Company officials said the vessels are each expected to fetch an income of Tk154 crore for Saif Powertec, registering a profit of Tk15.48 crore.
Saif Powertec Limited is a listed firm in the Dhaka Stock Exchange and the company is the country's lone terminal operator, handling around 58% of containers at the Chattogram Port. It also handles containers at Mongla and Pangoan ports.
The company is also involved in logistics and civil engineering, electrical equipment and automotive.
Safeen Feeder is a UAE-based container feeder company, which was established in 2020 by AD Ports Group. Safeen focuses on container services in the Arabian Gulf and Indian subcontinent.