Bashundhara Bitumen Plant to produce quality bitumen
After meeting the domestic demand, Bashundhara Bitumen Plant will help reduce the country’s dependence on imported bitumen, Roads and Highways Department officials and experts have said.
Bashundhara Bitumen Plant has a huge potential to export its products after meeting local demands, they said.
Top officials of Roads and Highways Department lauded the efforts of Bashundhara Group during a field visit to the Bashundhara Bitumen Plant, a concern of Bashundhara Oil and Gas Company Ltd, at Konda, Pangaon of South Keraniganj on Saturday.
Additional Chief Engineer (technical services wing) of Roads and Highways Department Dr Md. Abdullah Al Mamun and Bangladesh Road Research Laboratory of Roads and Highways Department director Md. Ahsan Habib led the 13-member delegation.
Bitumen expert Dr. Nazmus Sakib, who is also an assistant professor of Islamic University of Technology (IUT), was included in the delegation.
Bashundhara Cement Chief Marketing Officer Khandker Kingshuk Hossain and head of the Bashundhara Bitumen Plant Nafis Imtiaz accompanied the delegation during their visit.
After a thorough visit of the bitumen plant, Abdullah Al Mamun said Bashundhara Bitumen plant has the capacity of producing all sorts of bitumen products required for low and high traffic roads in the country.
“There is a scope of adulteration in imported bitumen at the carrying and handling stages. If we get bitumen products from domestic sources, it would be possible to ensure quality control of the products and road infrastructure as well,” said Abdullah Al Manun.
“Almost 95 per cent roads in Bangladesh are flexible pavements which require 80/100, 60/70 and modified bitumen,” he said, adding that “Visiting the Bashundhara Bitumen Plant, we observed that it has the capacity to produce all kinds of bitumen products.”
Expressing hope for reducing import dependence, Dr Mamun said Bashundhara production line has the capacity of producing 4 lakh tonnes of bitumen in the first phase, which is more than the annual domestic demand.
“Our annual demand is 3.5-4 lakh tonnes and 70,000-80,000 tonnes come from domestic sources. I think Bashundhara Bitumen can export its products,” said Dr Abdullah Al Mamun.
“Bangladesh needs a large volume of modified bitumen for high traffic road,” he said, adding that it is a matter of joy that Bashundhara has the capacity to produce modified and customize bitumen products.
Bitumen expert Dr. Nazmus Sakib also expressed hope that Bangladesh will become self-reliant in bitumen once Bashundhara Bitumen comes into production.
“Bashundhara Bitumen is coming into operation with the state-of-art technologies. I believe that the quality control of bitumen will be easier,” said Dr. Nazmus who did PhD in bitumen.
Suggesting Bashundhara Bitumen to remain careful in ensuring quality, he said Bashundhara Bitumen has a huge prospect in markets in the neighbouring countries.
Emphasizing on the cooperation of Roads and Highways Department in ensuring bitumen quality, Khandker Kingshuk Hossain said technical assistance and guidance of RHD will be very helpful for product development at Bashundhara Bitumen plant.
“Bangladesh still relies on import and becoming self-reliant in bitumen will minimize pressure on the country’s forex reserves,” he added.
He also said that Bashundhara Bitumen is likely to hit the market very soon.
It is mentionable that Bashundhara Bitumen has set a target to export 4 lakh tonnes of bitumen by reaching the highest production capacity of 9 lakh tonnes by 2021.
Sources said that in 2019, almost Tk 1721 crore was spent on importing bitumen, which is increasing at a rate of 20 per cent per year.
Country’s first-ever private sector Bitumen Plant was launched on February 22, aiming to cater to the growing demand for bitumen in the country.
In addition to producing commonly used penetration grades road bitumen, Bashundhara Bitumen has the facility to produce premium modified grades of bitumen upon demand.
The plant has the capacity to produce bitumen grades such as Cutback, Emulsified, Oxidised and Polymer (SBS, Rubber Powder) and customised as per client’s required specifications.
Also, usual penetration grades (60-70/80-100) and modified grades can be produced and supplied upon demand from this plant.
Drum production and filling facilities along with bulk loading facilities have constructed to facilitate an efficient distribution system from the plant.
Apart from this, fuel oil and some other by-products produced in the plant will be sold or disposed of to appropriate clientele.