First cargo vessel to take Bangla IWT route to North East sets sail

The first container cargo consignment on the inland waterways’ Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to Pandu (Guwahati) route set sail from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) on Monday (4 November 2019).

Gopal Krishna. secretary (shipping) flagged off the vessel, M Y Maheshwari, via a video conference from Deep Bhawan at Taratolla. 
The vessel, carrying 53 TEUs (containers) of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage will move through a 1,425 km long route via National Waterway- l (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
The first ever containerised cargo movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route, the 12-15-day voyage is expected to establish the technical and commercial viability of IWT mode using these multiple waterways even as a series of pilot movements are planned on the stretch. 
Krishna also said the latest IWT movement is aimed at providing a fillip to North East Region's industrial development by opening up an alternate route for transportation of raw material and finished goods.
The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Tracie (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries. The IBP route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak). Two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways, viz, Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj on the IBP route are being developed at a total cost of Rs305.84 crore, on 80:20 cost sharing basis (80 per cent being borne by India and 20 per cent by Bangladesh). The development of these two stretches is expected to provide seamless navigation to and from North East India through waterways via the IBP route. The contracts for dredging on the two stretches have been awarded for achieving and maintaining requisite depth.