Intertek, the world's biggest tester of consumer goods with the opening of its modern testing laboratory in Dhaka this June has made the task of obtaining product certification for exporters quicker, cheaper and simpler.
The laboratory is set up at a cost of Tk 42 crore on more than one lakh square feet of land that will provide one-stop service to a total of 17 industries including textile and garment, footwear, agro-processed foods, electrical goods and chemicals.
Early the exporters had to go through an expensive and time-consuming process of shipping their samples to Hong Kong, China or India to get the requisite third-party certification assuring quality and absence of any health hazardous elements.
But now, they can simply take the samples to Intertek's laboratory in Tejgaon, the company's biggest in Asia, and get the documentation within a couple of days at a much lower cost.
The operation of such a big lab will help the exporters acquire their test results faster and reduce their lead time to a huge extent, said Rajesh Saigal, managing director of Intertek South Asia.
The plant will not only test fabric samples, apparel, footwear, home furnishing and electrical appliances for hazardous elements and chemicals, but will also analyse the colour fastness of fabrics and conduct fibre analysis.
The laboratory is manned by 600 technicians and experts, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals. They are efficient enough to run the tests and certification.
Saigal is bullish about the laboratory's prospects, adding that the company is expecting at least 20 percent year-on-year business growth from it. It might even cross 30 percent. The reason for such high expectations is the country's steady economic growth and the growing importance of garments to the export basket.
Despite the domestic odds, the Bangladeshi garment business will continue to grow as it is still competitive to international retailers for lower production costs.
Many foreign companies are now relocating their businesses from China to other countries with lower production costs, which have created an immense opportunity for Bangladesh. Moreover, the laboratory will serve as the third-party testing hub for exporters from Myanmar, Madagascar and Mauritius, according to Saigal.
Intertek, headquartered in London with a network of more than 1,000 laboratories across 100 countries based on their market survey findings showed Bangladesh is poised to become a major market for them. They are now aiming to inaugurate another branch in Chittagong by the middle of next year; it will also provide employment to more than 400 people for the port city operations.
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