The 4th edition of the Global Elevator and Escalator Expo 2022 is being held at International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital, aiming to promote elevators, escalators, and lifts in the country's fast-growing housing industry.
People concerned said around 85% of the demand for elevators and escalators in the country are met with imports.
Although some local companies like Walton Group and PRAN-RFL Group have invested in manufacturing elevators, skilled manpower and government policy support are needed to attract more entrepreneurs in this sector, they said.
This year the exhibition, which kicked off on Thursday, has been organised by Virgo Communication in association with the Bangladesh Elevator Escalator and Lift Importer Association (BEELIA).
More than 50 companies from 10 countries including Bangladesh, China, Germany, Italy, India, and Japan are participating in the three-day exhibition.
Among the Bangladeshi companies participating in the event are Walton, Property Lifts, BD Lift, Bright Power Tech, United Lift, Euro Elevator BD, Horizon Techno, Easy Tech, Jupiter Enterprise and Rosemount BD.
Organisers say the demand for elevators and escalators is increasing along with the expansion of the real estate sector in the urban areas in the country besides big cities like Dhaka and Chattogram.
On Friday, Anitha Raghunath, director of Virgo Communication and Exhibition, told The Business Standard, "Annually, around 6,000 to 7,000 lifts are sold in Bangladesh. The demand is growing by 15% every year."
According to sources, there is a market of around Tk12,000 crore to Tk14,000 crore for lifts in the country.
Muhammad Zakirul Huque, director of Bangladesh Elevator Escalator and Lift Importer Association (BELIA), said, "We have 70 to 80 members in our association. However, around 150 to 200 companies are selling elevators in the country. Only 20 to 25 of them import lifts and escalators."
He said, "Earlier, lifts and escalators were considered as capital machinery. But recently, they have been excluded from the list. We want these products to be considered as capital machinery again."
He further said that some local companies manufacture lifts by importing different parts from countries like China and Italy. However, no local company has started manufacturing escalators.
Muhammad Zakirul Huque said that 400 to 500 units of escalators worth around Tk80 crore to Tk150 crore are sold in the country every year.
S M Shamsul Alam, vice chairman of Walton Group, said, "Even though we have started manufacturing elevators in the country, our products are not being used in government institutions. The government should purchase our products to promote the industry."
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global elevator and escalator market was valued at $79.70 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from $83.86 billion in 2022 to $132.08 billion by 2029.
Bangladesh imports elevators mostly from Switzerland, Finland, Japan, China and South Korea. The price of these elevators ranges from Tk8 lakh to Tk60 lakh depending on quality.
Entrepreneurs urged the government to introduce a monitoring agency to ensure the manufacture and import of quality lifts and escalators to avoid accidents.