Coastal and domestic cargo movement using the nation’s rivers is certainly gaining popularity in India..
In what was seen as a landmark moment in the history of shipping in India in recent times, PepsiCo moved 16 containers on the MV RN Tagore (for Rabindranath Tagore) from Kolkata to Varanasi on river Ganga using the National Waterway-1..
This was followed by Concor’s (Container Corporation of India Ltd,.) announcement that they are entering the coastal shipping market in India..
Concor kicked off their coastal shipping operation from Kandla to Tuticorin via Mangalore and Cochin with their first sailing on Thursday the 10th January 2019..
They used SSL Mumbai a container ship with 1613 TEUs which from Kandla in the West Coast to Tuticorin in the East Coast of India calling Mangalore and Cochin, en route, marking the start of a “unique multi-modal logistics solution” as it has been labelled..
Recently, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company moved16 containers on the river Ganga (National Waterway-1) from Varanasi to Kolkata..
Maersk Line operates 4.5 million TEUs around various services around the globe and this is Maersk Line’s first venture into India’s inland waterways..
Prior to Maersk, BCOs such as PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech, IFFCO Fertilizers, Dabur India had also used this river route for movement of their cargo within India, but this was the first movement by a major shipping line..
With Maersk on board this route, cargo from hinterland can now move directly to and from Bangladesh and rest of the short sea routes through Bay of Bengal as per a press release..
On November 12, 2018, the Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi dedicated India’s first riverine multimodal terminal on river Ganga (National Waterway-1) at Varanasi to the nation..
On the same day, he also received the MV RN Tagore carrying the country’s first container cargo that travelled on river Ganga (National Waterway-1) from Kolkata to Varanasi..
These twin events marked watershed moments in the development of Inland Water Transport (IWT) in India and also broke grounds for a spurt in business activities on National Waterway-1..
Video source: The Economic Times
This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas Project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.. This project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with a capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT..
The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,369.18 crore, which will be equally shared between the centre and the World Bank..
This infographic from Times of India shows the details of this project..
In August 2016, the Union Minister for Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari had flagged off a consignment of Maruti cars from Varanasi to Haldia..
Since then, pilot movements on National Waterways were done on various stretches with more than 15 of them having been successfully completed, including integrated movements through NW-1 (Ganga), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and NW-2 (Brahmaputra)..
Will Maersk’s example be followed by other shipping lines and also other short-sea/feeder or river barge operators..??