The World Bank’s (WB) Board approved a $375 million loan to help the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as it sustainably develops its first modern inland water transport fairway on a 1,360 km-stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia. The project will bring thousands of jobs in cargo logistics and transportation to one of the most populous regions in the country.
The state-of-the-art infrastructure and navigation services needed to develop the waterway — National Waterway 1 while adopting the least intrusive methods of making the river navigable. The Capacity Augmentation of National Waterway 1 (Jal Marg Vikas) Project will help save more than 150,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions annually by moving cargo away from fossil fuel-consuming road and rail networks. Goods in India, however, mostly travel by congested road and rail networks, slowing cargo movement and increasing the costs of trade logistics. The logistics costs in India are estimated to account for as much as 18 % of the country’s GDP. The current logistics network is also insufficient to accommodate the threefold increase in freight movement expected over the coming decade. The project will also help IWAI put in place environmentally-sustainable strategies for inland navigation that can be replicated on other waterways in India and other countries.
Image source: PORT TO PORT – INDIA’S NO 1 VESSEL POSITION