Bogra Motors Private Limited, a company producing engine filters for more than three decades, is planning to export its products again.
In 2007, the company started exporting filters to Canada after getting the ISO certificate in 2004.
It later stopped exports to focus only on the domestic market as the demand for its products grew significantly inside the country.
However, it is again eyeing the international market as it has enhanced its production capacity.
At present, Bogra Motors is running production in its factory with around 200 workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company produces about 400 types of filters which are used for different types of engines, including motorcycles and compressor engines.
The purpose of the engine filter is to prevent dust, dirt and other environmental contaminants from getting into the engine.
Filter prices range from Tk60 to Tk20,000 based on the size and quality of the engines.
The filters for motorcycles, buses, trucks, cars and microbuses have the highest demand in the market. These are sold for Tk300 to Tk2,000.
In 1965, Bogra Motors acquired about two bighas of land in the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) industrial area of Bogrua. It started with repairing old motor vehicles, especially the crankshaft.
It imported crankshaft equipment from Germany to give customers the best service. However, later, the market was filled with equipment imported from China.
As a result, the demand for the services of Bogra Motors started to decline.
In 1989, the company changed its business and set up a factory to produce engine filters.
Bogra Motors captured the market exactly four years after starting production. Most of their products are sold in Dhaka and Chattogram.
Bogura is another big market for them. A senior BSCIC officer said no company sells more engine filters in the country than Bogra Motors.
The company has a production capacity of two lakh pieces of filters per month. Currently, it produces 50,000 to 60,000 pieces.
World-class raw materials
The main raw materials of an engine filter are filter paper and glue. At present, most of the filter papers are imported from Korea, but they used to be imported from Germany.
Bogra Motors imports filter papers directly through the Chattogram Port. The company imports glue from North Korea.
According to company officials, Thai glue is also very good. They imported glue from India twice. But they did not do so anymore due to poor quality.
Casing is a very important element to make a filter better. The company imports casings from North Korea.
It does not import plain sheets and buys them from other companies in the country. Rubber and plastic granules are also procured from local companies.
Two friends started the journey
Aminul Islam and Ahmed Rezaur Rahman became friends while studying at Bogura District School. After finishing their studies, they became first-class contractors.
Then they first set up a car repairing company and after that, a motor parts shop. In 1977, they started an engineering workshop. The journey of making engine filters started in 1989.
At first, they found it difficult to sell their products in the market. But later, they started making filters of international quality.
Now there are five directors of Bogra Motors - Aminul Islam's wife Jebunnesa Islam, and two sons Tahmidul Islam and Sirajul Islam. The two other directors are Ahmed Rezaur Rahman and his only son Sibbir Ahmed.
Bogra Motors Production Manager (special filter section) Mahbub Morshed Siddique has been working here for almost a decade.
He said, "These filters are usually used in engines. We produce different types of car filters, generator filters, agricultural machinery filters, etc. We produce world-class filters."
Md Nurul Islam, manager of Bogra Motors, said a Bangladeshi individual living in Canada was the first to export this filter there.
"Later, he gave us more orders. But then the demand in the country started to grow. It was no longer possible for us to export filters to the international market."
He further said, "We also got orders from the UAE. We rejected those for the same reason. But now we are thinking of exporting filters again. Hopefully, our products will be exported to the world market soon."
Dr Tahmidul Islam Chandan, one of the directors of Bogra Motors, said every filter produced here has "Made in Bangladesh" written on it.
"But the problem is car owners go to shops and want foreign products. Many fake companies in the country put 'Made in Japan' stickers on their products. Customers get easily deceived by them. These issues should be investigated by the government," he said.
He said Bogra Motors makes filters for all Japanese cars and that is why they had decided to export their filters to Nepal, Bhutan, Canada or London.
But there are some problems on the Indian border, he noted.
"For example, the cost is high. If we can solve the problem with India, we will be able to capture a huge market in Nepal and Bhutan," he said.
He further said production costs had increased.
"For example, we have to pay huge taxes to the government to import raw materials. The government should consider this issue. If the tax is reduced, we will be able to provide more revenue to the government by exporting our products."
Tahmidul added, "Our partner Sibbir is in London now. We are looking for importers there."
AKM Mahfuzur Rahman, deputy general manager of BSCIC, said there is a huge demand for this product in the world.
"The filters produced here are world-class. There is no doubt about it. It is an ISO certified company. There is a market for the products of this company across the country. Even the Bangladesh Army has used these filters," he said.
"Such a company needs to be further developed. A new industrial city will be built in Bogura where it will be given more space with special consideration," he added.