In India’s first container movement on inland waterways

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    4th Nov, 2018

Context

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will transport Pepsico’s container cargo from Kolkata to Varanasi via National Waterway-1 on the Ganga.

About

National Waterways-1

  • Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia was declared as National Waterway No.1 vide National Waterway (Allahabad-Haldia stretch of the Ganga Bhagirathi- Hooghly river) Act 1982 (49 of 1982).
  • It became operative in 1986 after the formation of the IWAI and covers a distance of 1620 kms.
  • The Hooghly river portion of the waterway from Haldia to Nabadwip is tidal. Sea going vessels navigate up to Calcutta (140 kms) and the fairway up to Calcutta is maintained by the Calcutta Port Trust. From Calcutta up to Tribeni there are no restrictions for navigation by inland vessels of a loaded draft up to 4m.

Jal Marg Vikas Project:

  • The Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on NW-1 is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank.
  • The Project entails development of fairway with 3 meters depth between Varanasi and Haldia (Phase-I) covering a distance of 1380 km at an estimated cost of Rs. 5369 crore with target for completion in six years.
  • Through the project, the government is also trying to boost infrastructure development such as ferry services, multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities and navigation aids.
  • The project is expected to be completed by March 2023.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):

  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence in 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
  • India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.

Significance

  • This would be the country’s first container movement on inland vessel post-independence, and a milestone moment in the history of India’s IWT sector.
  • The mode of communication is considered both cost effective and environment friendly.
  • Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage.
  • It also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.
  • The event coincides with another momentous day for IWT in India as IWAI’s first foray into Public Private Partnership (PPP) model will become a reality with the handing over of operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to M/s Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd.

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