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India’s first Multi-Modal terminal on Inland Waterways

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  • Published
    20th Nov, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first multi-modal terminal on the River Ganga in Varanasi .


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first multi-modal terminal on the River Ganga in Varanasi .
  • The first consignment containing food and beverage had set sail from Kolkata in the last week of October.


  • This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided ‘Jal Marg Vikas Project’ of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.
  • The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,369.18 crore, which will be equally shared between the Government of India and the World Bank.
  • Operation, management and further development of the terminal are proposed to be entrusted to an operator on public-private partnership model. Selection of the operator through an international competitive bidding is at an advanced stage and is expected to be completed by December 2018.

Jal Marg Vikas Project

  • It aims at developing the stretch of the river between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels weighing up to 1,500 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes.
  • It will promote inland waterways as a cheap and an environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement.
  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the implementing agency.
  • The project entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia), two inter-modal terminals, five roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal pairs, night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking etc.
  • The Jal Marg Vikas Project is expected to be completed by March, 2023.

    National Waterways of India

    • National Waterway 1: NW1 starts from Allahabad to Haldia with a distance of 1620 km. The NW1 run through the Ganges, Bhagirathi and Hooghly river system with having fixed terminals at Haldia, Farrakka and Patna and floating terminals at most of the riverside cities like Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Varanasi and Allahabad. It will be the longest National Waterway in India.
    • National Waterway 2: NW2 stretchs on Brahmaputra River from Sadiya to Dhubri in Assam state. The NW2 is one of the major freight transportation waterway of north east India and the third longest Waterway with a total length of 891 km.
    • National Waterway 3: NW3 or the West Coast Canal is located in Kerala state and run from Kollam to Kottapuram. The 205 km long West Coast Canal is India’s first waterway with all-time navigation facility. The NW3 is consist of West Coast Canal, Champakara Canal and Udyogmandal Canal and runs through Kottappuram, Cherthala, Thrikkunnapuzha, Kollam and Alappuzha.
    • National Waterway 4: NW4 connect Kakinada to Pondicherry through canals, tank and River Godavari along with Krishna River. The NW4 the second longest waterway of India with a total lenght of 1095 km in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
    • National Waterway 5: NW5 connects Orissa to West Bengal using the stretch on Brahmani River, East Coast Canal, Matai River and Mahanadi River The 623 km long canal system will handle the traffic of cargo such as coal, fertilizer, cement and iron.
    • National Waterway 6: NW6 is the proposed waterway in Assam state and will connect Lakhipur to Bhanga at River Barak. The 121 km long waterway will boost trade between Silchar (Assam) to Mizoram.


  • The multi-modal terminal project and proposed freight village in Varanasi are expected to generate 500 direct employment and more than 2,000 indirect employment opportunities.
  • Container cargo transport also comes with several inherent advantages. Such as, it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage and also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

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