The handover ceremony took place at City Group’s production plant on the bank of the Shitalakshya River, 30 kilometers outside of the capital, Dhaka. From the Bühler side it was attended by Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler and Stefan Bürgi, Project Execution Team Manager. From City Group it was attended by the Chairman Mr. Fazlur Rahman and his son and Director of the Group Mr. Md. Hasan, and Mr. Imran Uddin Director of Planning and Business Development. The ceremony was also attended by the Swiss Ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Nathalie Chuard.
Nathalie Chuard said: “The economic ties between Bangladesh and Switzerland are getting stronger and stronger. And for the first time ever, we passed CHF 1 billion, that’s about USD 1.1 billion in terms of trading goods. So that’s a very important milestone. Switzerland and Swiss companies are very strong in terms of innovations and can provide technologies that are of real value. I see that City Group are ready to invest in Swiss technologies and I think it’s for the benefit of everyone in Bangladesh.”
The small handover ceremony took place without much fanfare due to the COVID-19 situation. However, the few people present visited the Rupshi Flour Mill, including the control room where they were greeted by head millers. Following the factory tour, the managers and the Swiss Ambassador travelled to the center of the capital Dhaka, for lunch and a formal ceremony to sign the contract at City Group’s head office.
City Group’s Director Md. Hasan said: “We are very happy to have one of the largest flour mills on our site. And we want to congratulate Bühler for being a partner on our journey, to provide affordable nutrition.”
The Rupshi Flour Mill
The Rupshi Flour Mill is City Group’s largest flour mill, with eight milling lines producing 625 tons each. It can produce a total of 6,150 tons per day of flour under one roof. The project was executed in a record 24 months since the December 2019 signing of the contract between Bühler and City Group.
Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler, said: “This means a lot to Bühler. We are very excited about working together with City Group. We got to know Mr. Chairman Fazlur Rahman as a very visionary entrepreneur, always leading the future. And we want to be together with leaders. We are very happy that we were able to contribute to this project. It was built in record time; in two years we’ve built this mill together.”
What was even more remarkable is that this installation took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stefan Bürgi, Bühler Project Director, who coordinated the installation from Switzerland, explains how it was possible. “During the sales and quotation period, the customer’s needs and requirements were worked out together so that after the contract was signed, we could immediately set up an experienced engineering team which was fully dedicated and worked only on this precious project. A key factor was close collaboration with the customer and regular onsite status/follow up meetings. The installation and commissioning were planned in detail, executed in a coordinated way, and tracked with an integrated time schedule. The Bühler site management, together with the customer, installed and commissioned the eight mills from September 2020 until November 2021.”
City Group is Bühler’s biggest customer in Bangladesh and their partnership dates back to 1996. Bühler is behind many installations in City Group’s enormous production plant. That includes 39 silos in the food park that have 305,000 tons storage capacity. Materials such as wheat, soy, corn, and lentils are shipped and offloaded daily in the food park and are used for trading or for processing in their own plants. The silos are equipped with the Bühler Insights solution which shows the product and ambient temperature inside every silo.
City Group is one of the biggest food conglomerates in Bangladesh which supplies one-third of the country's total demand. It has over 23 companies, employing over 15,000 people. When it was founded in 1971 the company originally processed mustard seeds to make oil. Over the years City Group has expanded its operations, particularly in the food and feed sector. The company operates from its huge production plant, 30 kilometers outside of Dhaka. There, it produces mustard, sunflower, soybean oil, flour, lentils, and rice. City Group produces flour under the TEER brand and supplies local consumers, bakeries, and restaurants.