Bangladesh opens $100 million PPE plant

The Park will serve both domestic and international markets and is aimed at increasing the diversity of the supply of PPE.

Beximco – the largest multinational holding conglomerate in Bangladesh – has just opened a $100-million complex for the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), in a bid to rival China as a major manufacturer and exporter of such products.

Located in Savar, 24 kilometres to the northwest of Dhaka, the 25-acre vertically-integrated PPE Park will make meltblown nonwovens and laminated fabrics in different weights and turn them into isolation and surgical gowns, N95 facemasks, disposable scrubs and woven and knitted shoe covers and head covers.

“The new facility will help manufacturers, buyers, retailers, brands and the government with required services, since all the services will be available under one roof, encompassing European, American and other global regulatory standards,” said Beximco CEO Syed Naved Husain at the inauguration ceremony earlier this month. “This should help us realise our vision of seeing Bangladesh as the largest manufacturer and exporter of PPE products.”

The Park will serve both domestic and international markets and is aimed at increasing the diversity of the supply of PPE, ensuring that it is not totally dependent on any one country, he added.

“Beximco has steadily contributed to the meteoric rise of Bangladesh as a manufacturing hub in South Asia and I am delighted with the new development since it will put the country on the world’s PPE manufacturing map.”

Through its new Beximco Health division, the company already has agreements to supply PPE, including masks and protective gowns, to major US healthcare service providers.

UK-headquartered product testing and certification company Intertek has worked with Beximco to develop a Centre of Excellence at the PPE Park. This covers an area of 12,000 square feet, with major sections for physical testing and respiratory analysis, as well as chemical and micro-biological testing, ensuring that it meets the regulatory and quality assurance requirements of global PPE manufacturers.

Last year, at the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Beximco pivoted from producing garments to protective equipment within a matter of weeks, learning the specialised fabrication techniques, setting up production lines, and producing 6.5 million gowns for distribution to the United States through the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to the most recent estimates, Bangladesh annually ships $6.7 billion in goods to America – nearly twice as much as it did a decade ago.

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