Varanasi Port Receives India's First Inland Cargo Vessel
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the first multi-modal terminal built on the river Ganga in Varanasi (Kashi). He also received India's first container vessel that sailed from Kolkata on the newly-developed inland waterway.
The event marked India’s first inland voyage by a container ship since it gained independence from Britain 70 years ago. The first consignment contained cargo belonged to food and beverage giant PepsiCo India.
The 1,390km (863 miles) Ganga watercourse is one of the 111 waterways spanning 20,276km that India is reviving or planning to build. The World Bank-assisted Ganga waterways project—costing USD 738 million - will enable the commercial navigation of vessels and is set to be completed by 2023.
Narendra Modi dedicated the Multimodal Terminal on the River Ganga, to the nation, and received the first container cargo. He inaugurated the Varanasi Ring Road Phase 1, and the development and construction for four laning of Babatpur-Varanasi Section of NH-56.
Referring to the arrival of the first inland container vessel in Varanasi, the Prime Minister said that Eastern Uttar Pradesh is now connected with the Bay of Bengal, through the water route.
The inland port at Varanasi is the first of a string of inland waterways and terminals that the central government aims to develop.
"This is a historic day for Varanasi and India. For the first time since Independence, we are using our extensive river network for commerce at this scale. It should have happened decades ago but we have finally made it happen now," PM Modi said.
Transforming the country’s waterways could be a game changer for India as it will reduce the cost of transportation — 50 percent less than highways — as well as easing congestion on roads.
"This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on NW-I ( River Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India. The other three terminals are under construction at Sahibganj, Haldia and Gazipur. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT on river Ganga," a press release stated.
Meanwhile, the inland vessel inland vessel MV Rabindranath Tagore that sailed from eastern city of Kolkata on Oct. 30 was carrying food and snacks from PepsiCo Inc. in 16 containers, which is the equivalent of 16 truckloads.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India vessel will make its return journey with fertilizers from Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd.