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Kolkata-Patna becomes India's second inland container cargo sector


After the successful shipping of inland container cargo from Kolkata to Varanasi earlier this year, Bihar’s capital Patna will witness the second inland container shipment, in a landmark in the country’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector.

The second shipment, from food giant PepsiCo and Emami Agrotech Ltd, with 16 TEUs of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads), from Kolkata will reach the city’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga next week.

Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) vessel MV RN Tagore sailed from Kolkata’s Garden Reach Jetty today with products of PepsiCo and Emami Agrotech. It will reach the IWT terminal at Patna in 6-7 days after an 815 km long voyage on river Ganga (National Waterway-1).

The cargo will be unloaded at IWAI’s inter-modal terminal at Gaighat in Patna from where onward cargo will be loaded. Earlier, on 12 November 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the country’s first IWT containerised cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata.

Kolkata-Patna is India’s new IWT origin-destination pair for containerised cargo movement on the National Waterway-1. 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. 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 (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.