The Government of India is trying to improve the connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), keeping that in mind; a container cargo ship will sail from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authoritu of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati through inland waterways on the 4th November 2019.
The inland vessel MV Maheshwari that will carry 53 TEUs (containers) of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage, etc will be flagged by the Secretary of Shipping, Shri Gopal Krishna.
The vessel will complete the 12-15 days voyage by a movement via National Waterway-1 (River Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
This movement on the Inland Water Transport route by a container cargo will the first of its kind. This 1425 km voyage will probably make the technical and commercial viability of IWT mode utilising these various waterways. Also, a series of pilot movements are planned on the journey.
This IWT movement aims to provide for the development of the industries of the NER by opening doors for an alternate means of transportation for raw materials and finished goods.
Taking the goal of the Government to develop IWT ahead, the first project of container cargo was received by the Prime Minister on National Waterway 1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system) on 12 November 2018 when he dedicated the Multi-Modal Terminal at Varanasi to the nation.
There has been a great growth in the IWT on NW-1 due to the increase in the capacity of navigation of Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project. There has been a growth from 5.48 million tonnes in 2017-18 to 6.79 million tonnes in 2018-19 in the traffic.
3.15 million tonnes of the total traffic of 6.79 million tonnes is the EXIM trade between India and Bangladesh through the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes.