The Royal Navy had many warships built in Chittagong, some of which were also used in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd., the first modern shipyard of Bangladesh, was established in 1922, constructed during the British era in the subcontinent.
During the Mughal Empire, the province of Bengal Subah had a large shipbuilding industry.
In terms of shipbuilding tonnage during the 16th–18th centuries, the annual output of Bengal alone totaled around 2,232,500 tons, larger than the combined output of the Dutch (450,000–550,000 tons), the British (340,000 tons), and North America (23,061 tons).
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Bangladesh has now over 200 shipbuilding companies, mostly concentrated in Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj, Barisal and Khulna.
However, shipbuilding has become a major promising industry in recent years when the locally made ships began to be exported.
Ananda Shipyard and Shipways Limited (ASSL), founded in 1983 on the bank of Meghna river, became the first Bangladeshi shipbuilding company to export an ocean-going ship when it transferred the locally built "Stella Maris" to a Danish firm.
ASSL has since then secured several more contracts, mostly from the European countries.
The volume of shipbuilding swelled extensively during the Mughal period.
During the 17th century, the shipyards of Chittagong used to build warships for the Sultan of Turkey.
An important innovation in shipbuilding was the introduction of a flushed deck design in Bengal rice ships, resulting in hulls that were stronger and less prone to leak than the structurally weak hulls of traditional European ships built with a stepped deck design.