Patnaís Gaighat IWT terminal recently received 16 TEUs
of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads), from Kolkata.
With the opening up of Kolkata-Patna as a new
origin-destination pair on Inland Waterways, the vessel containing the
containerised cargo, belonging to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech,
covered a distance of 815 kilometres on river Ganga.
Earlier, in November, the Prime Minister had received
the countryís 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. The Ministry of
Shipping says that container cargo transport on inland waterways comes with
several inherent advantages. Even as 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 (1390 Km)
with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated
cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of
vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
The movement will give a fillip to the regionís growth
and employment. According to the World Bank economic analysis, out 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.