DHAKA: In a landmark occasion, Bangladesh joined the select group of countries that manufacture world-class, large-scale Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by shipping 6.5 million PPE gowns to US brand Hanes for ultimate delivery to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on May 25, 2020.
In a ceremony at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to mark the occasion, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam joined US Ambassador, Mr. Earl R. Miller to see off Beximco’s first shipment of PPE to USA.
As the global spread of COVID-19 has bloomed into a pandemic, it has become clear that there will be a desperate need of PPE to keep medical professionals and the general public safe. Beximco has proudly joined the fight against the global pandemic by moving swiftly to add manufacturing capabilities in PPE items such as gowns, masks and coveralls, said Beximco CEO and Group Director Mr. Syed Naved Husain.
He said that the COVID-19 virus had changed how the world works, and that Beximco had to urgently respond. “In just two months, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, technical and design talent toswitch over and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the supply of PPE which is urgently needed in Bangladesh and worldwide.”
He said that “Bangladesh was well positioned to become a new hub for PPE manufacturing. This would help keep people safe and secure worldwide while helping Bangladesh`s own economy and ensuring that the large workforce of 4.1M in the garment sector can still make a good livelihood. Everyone in Bangladesh wants to turn the tide and help save lives. Beximcois leading the way in this regard” he said.
Speaking on the occasion State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam lauded the role of Beximco’s contribution to Bangladesh’s economy.
He said the like the rest of the world Bangladesh is also facing toughest times and trying to cope with this pandemic. “And in these trying times, its remarkable to see that within this short span of two months Bangladesh was able to foray into this very regulated market with such a sensitive healthcare product with just not ten or twenty thousand pieces but six and half million pieces. What an achievement.”
US Ambassador, Mr. Earl R. Miller said the event marked“the first major shipment of PPE into the US.”
“US welcomes Bangladesh’s world-class large-scale PPE production to the global marketplace. The Beximco-Hanes partnership is another great example of how our two great nations are combating the Covid 19 pandemic,” Mr. Earl R. Miller said.
He said all this happened in less than two months. “Imagine, two months from the request from the US. Beximco and Bangladesh was nimble enough to turn production line around so that we can put badly needed PPE on this aircraft behind me and send it to the US. That’s absolute bureaucratic and entrepreneurial light speed.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed chairman of Janata Bank said:“Janta Bank is proud to be associated with Beximco in financing them. We are going to finance the other exporters also who are involved in export business as economic machine should run or else everything will fall apart.”
Managing Director of Beximco Pharma Nazmul Hassan MP termed the event historic. “Today we join the club of first-class large-scale PPE manufacturing countries.”
He said in the initial days of pandemic, there was huge local demand for PPE and Beximco took the initiative of providing PPE’s to local healthcare services through import.
“But there was severe shortageglobally as demand was increasing. We, therefore, decided to manufacture them to meet the demand. Today we are not only providing these to our local healthcare services but also exporting them to very highly regulated sensitive markets.”
Beximco Pharmaceuticals which is Bangladesh`s only US FDA Certified company with `World Class` manufacturing and R&D facilities and a global footprint in 50 countries became the first company to start production of REMDESIVIR, which has been cleared by US FDA for emergency use for COVID 19 Patients. It is the first medication supported by early clinical data that is available to effectively fight the COVID 19 novel Pathogen.
Beximco Textile Division is one of South Asia`s largest, fastest, agile/flexible ,most innovative, and sustainable vertical Textile and Fashion Apparel manufacturing operations employing 40,000 people, shipping around 400,000 garments daily to gold standard companies like Target, USA, Zara, Michael Kors, PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Amazon. C&A. Yellow which is Beximco`s fashion retail chain has become the No 1 Fashion Brand in Bangladesh.
Beximco has effectively leveraged Beximco`s Best in class Pharmaceutical knowhow and resources combined with those of the Textile Division to create the new Beximco PPE Division. A new PPE Industrial Park is being rapidly set up 10 minutes away from Beximco Industrial Park (which is built like a campus on 350 Acres and is Certified Leeds Green).
Like all its endeavors Beximco`s Vision for the New PPE Division is long term and not fly by night and opportunistic. Accordingly, we have hired the top global consultants, and are investing and setting up comprehensive vertical facilities for our PPE products which will include all levels of PPE Gowns, Coveralls, Masks, etc. It is planned to become a major global player in this sector in the next 3 years.
Beximco has also established a strategic partnership with Chicago based Geste Designs and are examining the feasibility to jointly invest and establish a PPE manufacturing Hub in Detroit with support of the state and the city. Geste is already supplying essential Covid 19 PPE to the city of Detroit.