From Bogura to Britain Local filter reaches global market

Bogura Motors Ltd is set to establish a new factory to tap into the power plant filter market

Workers of Bogura Motors Ltd package car filters after production at a factory in Bogura Bscic industrial estate.

Bogura Motors Ltd, a car filter manufacturer based in Bogura, has once again demonstrated its presence in the international market by exporting filters worth $11,250 to the United Kingdom last year.

The company is now setting its sights on new markets, including Spain, Portugal, and the USA, in an effort to further develop this promising industry and diversify the “Made in Bangladesh” brand. 

Additionally, Bogura Motors plans to establish another factory in the district to tap into the country’s power plant filter market.

The company exported filters to Canada in 2007 but had to halt exports due to rising production costs, despite significant demand in the Canadian market. 

Power filters are a recent addition to the wide range of products being exported from Bogura to various parts of the world, which is anticipated to elevate Bogura’s prominence as a major economic driver in the northern region of the country, local business leaders told The Business Standard.

According to them, the export of various products from Bogura, including power filters, reached a total value of $57.2 million (equivalent to Tk607 crore) in the year 2022.

Bogura Motors has been dominant in manufacturing engine filters, usually of three types – air filters, oil filters, and fuel filters – for over 30 years and has witnessed an increasing demand for quality filters both domestically and internationally, prompting the company to enhance its production capacity.

At present, Bogura Motor’s factory employs 126 workers dedicated to manufacturing car filters that bear the inscription “Made in Bangladesh”. These filters can be used in various types of vehicles, ranging from motorcycles to cars in the country.

Bogura Motors traces its roots back to 1965 when it began on a two-bigha plot of land in the Bogura Bscic industrial estate, initially focusing on repairing old automobiles, particularly the crankshafts of engines. Eventually, the business model evolved, and in 1989, a filter manufacturing factory was established. Since then, the company has been committed to manufacturing international-quality filters.

Dr Tahmidul Islam, one of the directors of Bogura Motors, told TBS that there is a significant demand for power filters from major organisations, including the Bangladesh Army, Border Guard Bangladesh, and PRAN-RFL Group. 

He added that his company’s products have been certified by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) since 2004, and its power filters were introduced to the global market in 2007, initially being exported to Canada. However, due to rising production costs, exports to Canada were halted despite the demand.

Now, with a change in circumstances, Bogura Motors aims to prove its capabilities in the global competitive market, ensuring that they are the sole exporter of filters with the “Made in Bangladesh” label. 

To facilitate export, the company has obtained a Certificate of Origin from the Bogura Chamber of Commerce, enabling its products to be globally accepted, Tahmidul said.

AKM Mahfuzur Rahman, deputy general manager of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry Corporation (Bscic), told TBS that power filters produced by Bogura Motors are in the highest demand in the domestic market. 

“The company has a production capacity of two lakh pieces of filters a year, but it currently manufactures 50,000-60,000 pieces. It has earned a reputation for manufacturing filters of international quality. Last year, it made a significant impact by exporting filters to the UK.”

World-class raw materials

Filter paper is an essential component used in manufacturing filters, and it comes in various qualities. Bogura Motors currently imports filter paper directly from Korea. 

To ensure the filter’s performance, the company also imports the casing from North Korea, as it is a crucial component.

To complete the filter assembly, Bogura Motors imports glue either from North Korea or Thailand. 

The casing, a critical element affecting filter performance, is also imported, specifically from North Korea. 

The production requires a significant number of plane sheets, which are not imported but procured by another company from Japan. However, it obtains rubber and plastic granules from local companies. Furthermore, the company undertakes the colouring process of the casings in-house.

Gearing up to grab power plant filter market 

With a surge in demand for power plant filters in the domestic market, Bogura Motors is making strategic moves to build a new factory in Kahalu Upazila, on a 4-bigha land, in collaboration with a Chinese company. 

“The aim is to produce power plant filters on a larger scale and eventually export these filters to various target countries, thus reducing reliance on imports and elevating the “Made in Bangladesh” brand in the global context,” said Tahmidul.

Nurul Islam, manager of Bogura Motors, explained that their filters are primarily used in engines, including various types of car filters, generator filters, and agricultural machinery filters. The filters are particularly useful in applications involving engine and oil work. 

“Although there is a growing demand for our filters both domestically and internationally, we are facing challenges in meeting the increasing demand. Consequently, we plan to open a new factory soon to enhance production capacity,” he said.

Are there any challenges?

While Bogura Motors has been a key player in meeting about 30% of the domestic filter demand, it faces competition from eight other filter manufacturing factories in the country, with four of them also located in Bogura. 

To maintain its dominant position in the market, the company manufactures approximately 400 types of filters, catering to diverse needs, ranging from motorcycles to compressor engines. The filters are sold at various price points, with the smallest filter starting at Tk70 and larger ones ranging from Tk2,000 to Tk20,000.

Tahmidul Islam emphasised that some companies in the country dishonestly label their products as “Made in Japan” or “Made in Korea” instead of promoting the “Made in Bangladesh” label. To combat this issue, he called for increased government surveillance and actions against such deceptive practices.

Besides, the determination of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the import of raw materials has been a concern for the past year. 

A 15% VAT is currently deducted at the port during raw material imports, leading to delays and financial challenges. 

Tahmidul Islam requested the government to provide some relaxation in this regard to support local manufacturing.

Bogura sees brighter days ahead

Mahfuzul Islam Raj, vice-president of Bogura Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told TBS that Bogura’s importance in the national economy is steadily rising. 

The completion of large infrastructure projects including the Bogura-Sirajganj railway line and Bogura airport is expected to attract more local and foreign investments, leading to the development of versatile companies such as Bogura Motors, he concluded.

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