Speed Post News Network

Patna : Patna witnessed  a new landmark in India’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector with 16 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads) belonging to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech Ltd from Kolkata reaching the city’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga on December 14, 2018, late evening. The 815 km long voyage was a momentous one with the opening up of Kolkata-Patna as a new Origin-Destination pair on Inland Waterways. Earlier, on November 12, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received the country’s first IWT containerised cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata.

Plans are at an advanced stage to operationalise Patna-Varanasi sector of NW-1 for container cargo movement. Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. It reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage. It also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

The Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1,390 km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5,369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 DWT.

The movement will give a fillip to the region’s growth and employment. According to the World Bank economic analysis, of the 1.5 lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities to be created due to interventions under JMVP, 50,000 will be in Bihar alone, according to a PIB release.

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