Bangladesh’s relationship with water is well-documented. It is a country with a unique array of geographic and climatic factors that make it prone to periodic cyclones and accompanying flooding.
This is compounded by the fact that some two thirds of the country’s population live in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. Road and rail transport in this area is restricted, with rivers serving as principal lifelines for travel and trade.
Water management policies accomplished primarily by dredging operations have been an effective way to improve the country’s infrastructure and flood defences. In fact, the Bangladeshi Government has increased investment for dredging projects on river routes to restore and maintain navigability, while at the same time improving water holding capacity for irrigation and fishery activities during the dry season.
Responding to this increased need for dredging expertise and equipment, Damen has been active in Bangladesh for many years. “We have been working here for more than four decades,” comments Rabien Bahadoer, Damen’s Sales Manager for the Asia Pacific region. “Economically and socially – we want to support growth in Bangladesh. And dredging with quality equipment is a way to achieve this.”
To this end, Rabien has overseen the deliveries of multiple vessels – including Cutter Suction Dredgers (CSD), Tugs and Multi Cats – in recent years. These have been equipped with a wide range of innovative features like remote access capabilities which allow Damen service engineers to log in remotely to assist directly with troubleshooting. “Other examples include equipping all CSD 500 vessels with two engines; one fully dedicated to the dredge pump and the other for the hydraulics and electrical systems. This not only means that there is always full power available for the dredge pump, it also results in higher fuel efficiency due to less idling time. Other areas that we have tackled include the dredge pumps and gearboxes – all with the aim to boost uptime and increase output during the operation of the dredging vessel while making maintenance more straightforward.”
“However, our role goes further than just building dredgers. In order to keep rivers and channels navigable on a long-term basis, comprehensive lifecycle support is also required. This includes sustained training programmes, which we offer by sending our own Dredge Masters to Bangladesh to give practical, hands-on training. This is backed up by innovative online support applications. And, following on from the successful dredging seminars that we organised, we are planning in-depth project management training sessions for existing clients. In addition, we have established a local Service Hub to train people on-site as well as to reduce lead times for components such as cutter teeth and dredge pump parts.”
It is this all-inclusive strategy that illustrates Damen’s ambitions in Bangladesh.
"We are here for the long-term," Rabien states.
“This will be in the form of a one-stop-shop for dredging vessels and other support vessels, dredge training, support and lifecycle services that extend long after we have handed over a vessel.”
A word from local dredging operators
Munazzeel Riasat, Chief Executive Officer, IBC Power Limited.
“At present there is an extensive requirement for capital and maintenance dredging activities in Bangladesh, and we have been fortunate enough to be at the forefront of both. We have mobilised our Damen CSDs on various projects of great national importance – including the Mongla-Pakshi Channel to support the construction of the Ruppur nuclear power plant, and maintenance dredging of the Mawa ferry route, to name a few.
“We have been very pleased with the operational efficiency of the CSDs; we can run them around the clock without any significant disruptions, thus achieving our targeted production volumes with good fuel efficiency. Due to this reliability we are confident in securing large scale projects, secure in the knowledge that with our superior equipment and steadfast commitment we can guarantee the timely and qualitative completion of projects.”
Engr. Jahangir Alam, General Manager & Head of Dredging, Zodiac Dredging Limited.
“We are currently dredging an inland river in the north east of the country. 250km from Dhaka, for the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). The main focus of the project is to create a bypass water channel between 3.5 and 4 metres deep that connects to the main river. This 30-metre wide, 25 km-long channel will improve navigability and protect public property from excess water in the rainy season. Our Dredger Masters have around 20 years’ of experience – so we have a very experienced team.
“Both our Damen dredgers have been operating since the end of February and, up till now, production has been excellent. They are user-friendly, can work in shallow water, and have excellent output with less fuel used. We expect to achieve our targets.”
Cutter Suction Dredger
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB)