On the back of a continuous thrust from all stake holders of India’s infrastructure development fraternity, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has flagged off its first container movement on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi. Post independence, this will be the country’s first container movement on inland waterways over river Ganga (National Waterway-1). The cargo – equivalent to 16 truckloads is expected to reach Varanasi in 9-10 days time.
The flagging off of the vessel also coincides with IWAI’s first foray into the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. IWAI will hand over the management of its Kolkata terminal’s operations to M/s Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd. (SAPEL) on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model.
Cargo transport through India’s elaborate network of rivers offers several inherent advantages. Apart from reducing costs, this mode of cargo transport is much lighter on the environment. Additionally, container cargo transport reduces pilferage and damages to the goods.
The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of ₹ 5,369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
Image credit – DNA news