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Boost for inland waterways! World’s largest container shipping firm Maersk completes 1st voyage on Ganga river

Friday, 01 March 2019 | 16:00

Big boost for inland waterways! The world’s largest container shipping firm – Maersk – successfully completed its first voyage on the Ganga river, National Waterways 1. The Ministry of Shipping recently announced that an Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) vessel with as many as 16 Maersk containers reached Kolkata, West Bengal from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on February 25, 2019. Earlier this month, the ministry stated that Maersk, which moves 12 million containers across the globe annually, was on board India’s inland waterways for the first time. Similar movements were earlier carried out by companies like Dabur India, PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech and IFFCO Fertilizers.

India’s first riverine multimodal terminal on the Ganga river was dedicated to the nation last year on November 12 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Varanasi. On the very same day, PM Modi also received the country’s first container cargo that travelled on the Ganga river from Kolkata to Varanasi. The Ministry of Shipping stated earlier that both the events marked watershed moments in the development of India’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) and broke grounds for a spurt in business activities on the Ganga river.

According to the ministry, the container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages including reduction in the handling cost, easier modal shift, reduction of pilferages and damage. Also, it allows cargo owners to minimize their carbon footprints.

The government of India is developing National Waterways 1 under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi, covering 1390 Km with technical as well as financial assistance of around Rs 5369 crore from the World Bank. With this project, commercial navigation of vessels would be enabled with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

In August 2016, Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari had launched a consignment of Maruti cars from Varanasi to Haldia. Since that time, pilot movements on the Ganga river are presently being done on various stretches. Over 15 of them have already been completed, including integrated movements through National Waterways 1, National Waterways 2 and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.
Source: Financial Express

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