To enable Hajj pilgrims to make affordable trips to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from Chattogram, Karnafuly Ship Builders Ltd, one of Bangladesh’s largest private shipbuilding companies, will import a passenger vessel.

The company has already asked the government for permission to import the ship, engineer MA Rashid, managing director of Karnaphuly Ship Builders Limited, confirmed in a meeting with reporters on Thursday.

He said if the company gets the permit to bring the ship, it will take eight days to reach Saudi Arabia from Chattogram. It used to take about a month to get to Saudi Arabia by sea, but now the ships use modern technology and have a higher speed, he said.

“We hope to introduce a cost-effective travel option for Hajj pilgrims,” Rashid added.

He added that traveling by sea will allow Hajj pilgrims to perform their prayers on board the ship without any inconvenience, which may not always be possible when traveling by plane.

During the meeting with reporters, Rashid said the private sector must come forward for the development of the country. He also highlighted some of Karnafuly’s achievements as a business.

“Our company, one of the leading dredge construction companies in Asia, has manufactured dredges valued at approximately Tk 5,000 crore for Bangladesh. The company also recently built the country’s very first private jetty named Karnaphuly Dry Dock Limited in Chattogram, ”he said.

According to Rashid, the pier helps reduce the average waiting time for ships in the outer harbor.

“We will build two more jetties and a dry dock which will be completed within two years,” he added.