First-Ever Movement Of Container Cargo On Brahmaputra - For the first time ever, an Indian waterway is being used for transport of cargo between two countries, using India for transit.
- Ministry of Shipping flagged-off a ship of the Inland Waterways Authority of India, carrying a stone from Bhutan to be delivered in Bangladesh
What are the connecting points? The ship has been sailing from Dhubri in Assam and will travel to Narayanganj in Bangladesh, over river Brahmaputra. About Waterways in India
- Water transport in India has played a significant role in the country's economy and is indispensable to foreign trade.
- It is one of the cheapest modes of transport in India, as it takes advantage of natural track and does not require huge capital investment in construction and maintenance except in the case of canals
- India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
- About 55 million tones of cargo are being moved annually by Inland Water Transport (IWT)
About Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence on 27th October 1986 for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The Authority primarily undertakes projects for the development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grants received from the Ministry of Shipping.
- Currently, there are 111 national waterways.
Till now, Bhutan has been exporting a significant quantity of stone aggregates to Bangladesh through the land route. What’s New? This is the first time an Indian waterway is being used as a channel for transport of cargo between two countries, using India for transit. Benefits
- The development is a historic one as it will promote cargo transportation through inland waterways.
- It will be beneficial to India as well as Bhutan and Bangladesh and strengthen relations between the neighboring countries.
- The transport of cargo through this route will cut short travel time by 8 to 10 days, and reduce transportation costs by 30%, bringing down logistics costs.
- It will also be a more environment-friendly mode of transport.
- This new development will not only strengthen our ties with our neighboring countries but will also open up an alternate route to the North-Eastern states, making it easier and cheaper to reach goods to these places from other parts of the country.
- Capital dredging has been carried out to maintain an assured draft in the navigation channel.
Other Measures to develop cargo shipping
- The Government is also taking various initiatives to increase the use of Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for greater cargo shipment.
- These include providing the assured depth of water in the channels, navigation aids like GPS and River Information System, terminals at regular intervals, facilities for mechanized handling of cargo handling, etc
- .A minimum of 40 % discount and priority in berthing are being given to coastal vessels at major ports.
- Licensing relaxations have been made for fertilizers, agricultural products, fisheries, horticultural, and animal husbandry products, empty containers and containers being transhipped from another Indian port.