In a First, Container Cargo Vessel on Brahmaputra
The first ever containerized cargo movement via Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and Brahmaputra (National Waterway -2) river will start from West Bengal's Haldia Today.
"In line with Government’s focus on improving connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), a landmark container cargo consignment will sail on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati on 4 November, 2019," said a government release.
Gopal Krishna, Secretary (Shipping) will flag off the inland vessel MV Maheshwari carrying 53 TEUs (containers) of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage etc. The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra). This is the first ever containerized cargo movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route.
The 1425 km long movement is expected to establish the technical and commercial viability of IWT mode using these multiple waterways even as a series of pilot movements are planned on the stretch.
The latest IWT movement is aimed at providing a fillip to North East Region’s industrial development by opening up an alternate route for transportation of raw material and finished goods.
Taking ahead the Government's vision of promoting IWT, the first consignment of containerized cargo on National Waterway-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system) was received by the Prime Minister on 12 November 2018 when he dedicated to the nation, the Multi Modal Terminal at Varanasi.
IWT on NW-1 has witnessed healthy growth with the augmentation of navigation capacity of Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project . The traffic on NW-1 has grown from 5.48 million tonne in 2017-18 to 6.79 million tonne in 2018-19.
Out of the total traffic of 6.79 million tonne on NW-1, approximately 3.15 million tonne is the EXIM trade between India and Bangladesh using the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes.
The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.