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Govt intends to increase the share of IWT to 5% as per MIV-2030 : Sarbananda Sonowal

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NEW DELHI : Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal informed in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that, Inland Water Transport (IWT) is the most economical mode of transportation, especially for bulk cargo like coal, iron ore, cement, food grains and fertilizer. Presently, it remains under utilized at a share of 2% in India’s modal mix. Government intends to increase the share of IWT to 5% as per Maritime India Vision (MIV)-2030. Various economic and environmental benefits of IWT in comparison to road and rail transport are detailed at Annex.-1.   

Further, development work under Jal Marg Vikas Project-II (Arth Ganga) has been initiated which is based on the principles of the sustainable development model to energize economic activities which will lead to inclusive growth and play a key role in improving the livelihoods of the population with the transportation of goods and passengers (including tourist) through National Waterways No. 1(River Ganga).

Steps taken for growth of cargo transportation on waterways are detailed at Annex.-2    


The Socio-economic and environmental benefits of IWT Mode:

1. Cheaper operating cost and relatively lesser fuel consumption

Factors consideredRates ConsideredSource
Energy Consumption0.0048 Litre/TKm0.0313 Litre/TKm0.0089 Litre/TKm11th Plan Working Group Report on Shipping & IWT
Vehicle Operating Cost0.843 Rs./TKm1.170 Rs./TKm1.009 Rs./TKmPlanning Commission : TTS Study

2. Less polluting mode of transportation

Factors consideredRates Considered (Rs./TKm)Source
Air Pollution0.030.2020.0366Planning Commission : TTS Study
Noise PollutionNegligible0.00320.0012Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC)
Soil and Water PollutionNegligible0.005NegligiblePIANC

3. Lesser requirement of land relative to other modes of transportation

Factor consideredRates Considered (Rs/TKm)Source
Surface occupationNegligible0.00020.0001PIANC

4. More environment friendly mode of transportation

Factor consideredRates Considered (Rs/TKm)Source
Emission of GHGs0.00060.00310.000612th Five Year Plan




i. Fairway development works:

Fairway development works to ensure Least Available Depth (LAD) of 3.0 meter in Haldia-Barh, 2.5 meter in Barh-Ghazipur and2.2 meter in Ghazipur-Varanasi stretches on NW-1 are progressing under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) which has been undertaken by IWAI with technical and financial assistance from World Bank. Similarly, to improve the connectivity between NW-1 and NW-2/NW-16 via the Indo Bangladesh protocol route, the critical and shallow stretches between Sirajganj and Daikhowa on protocol route No.1 & 2 and Ashuganj and Zakiganj on protocol rote no 3 & 4 in Bangladesh are being jointly developed by India and Bangladesh for round the year navigability (with targeted LAD of 2.5 mtrs). Similarly, fairway development works are being carried out on NW-97 in Sunderbans to allow smooth navigation of vessels on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.

ii. Development of New National Waterways-

IWAI has identified 25 new NWs through techno-economic feasibility studies for undertaking technical interventions to make the waterways navigable for transportation purpose. Once ready, these new waterways will provide an alternate mode of transportation in respective geographies.

iii. Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax Service Commenced in Various National Waterways-

The Operation of Ro-Ro / Ro-Pax vessels inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minster during February 2021 for the following routes:

Vessel NameRo-Ro/Ro-Pax Services betweenDate of Inauguration by Hon’ble Prime Minister
MV Rani Gaidinliu & MV Sachin Deve BarmanNeamati and Kamalabari (Majuli)18.02.2021
MV JFR JacobGuwahati and North Guwahati18.02.2021
MV Bob KhathingDhubri and Fakirganj (U/S Hatsingimar)18.02.2021
MV Adi Shankara & MVC.V. RamanWellingdon Island and Bolghaty14.02.2021

iv. Revision of Levy & Collection of Fees:

Taking ahead the vision of the Government of India to promote Inland Waterways as a supplementary mode of transport, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has considered waiver of waterway user charges initially for a period of three years.


•  CAR-D (Cargo Data) Portal: CAR-D is a web based portal for collection & compilation, analysis and dissemination of all cargo and cruise movement data of National Waterways to the stakeholders.

•  PANI (Portal for Asset & Navigation Information): PANI is an integrated solution brining river navigation and infrastructure information on a single platform.

It provides detailed information of various features of National Waterways and the assets such as fairway, infrastructure facilities, cross-river structures, connectivity at jetties, emergency services for facilitating transportation of cargo.

These solutions increase collaboration across divergent stakeholders, improve organizational consistency, increased resource agility, enhances ownership and accountability for each stakeholder leading to improved management of activities. By having public access to key work being done by IWAI for the sector, will enhance IWAI’s standing in the market and will increase trust in the sector. 

3. Enhanced regional trade using IWT mode:

a. Addition of new Ports of Call and routes in India and Bangladesh under PIWT&T: With 7 new ports of call in addition to existing 6 on each side along with addition/ extension of 2 waterway routes in addition to existing 8 routes under PIWT&T between India and Bangladesh, the accessibility of IWT mode for trade between India and Bangladesh is expected to increase and result in growth of traffic on NWs.

b. Trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh: Stone exporters from Bhutan have identified Inland waterways as an alternate mode of transportation considering the benefits associated with waterways mode such as lower transportation cost, larger shipment size compared to road, avoiding congestion on land routes etc. The first movement under supervision of IWAI was successfully executed in July 2019. This trade using the IWT mode is expected to continue and reach a significant scale in the coming years.

4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for facilitating the Stakeholders to use Inland Water Transport and access the various information related to National Waterways

The list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various National Waterways which are available at IWAI website is as given below:

i. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of Republic of India.

ii. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of MoU on Passenger and Cruise Services on the Coastal and Protocol Route between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of Republic of India.

iii. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the MoU on use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit cargoes between the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of Republic of India.

iv. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the Movement of Vessels on Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T) to contain the spread of COVID19.

v. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Check List for Ro-Ro / Ro-Pax vessel operations on National Waterways.

vi. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Car-D Portal.

5. Stakeholder consultations: IWAI carried out stakeholder consultations at six different locations (Kolkata, Kochi, Mumbai, Patna, Goa and Dhaka) in FY-20, 9nos. during FY-21 and 06 nos. conference-cum-webinars in FY22 for cargo promotion.

The Waterways Conclave was held at Dibrugarh on 11th & 12thApril, 2022. The event was attended by 4 neighboring countries and12 waterway connected states for promotion of Waterway.

The 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 was organized by at Mumbai on 14-15 May, 2022. The Sessions relating to Potential of River Cruising was organized by IWAI wherein leading cruise operators had participated. These interactions helped in promoting waterways as a mode of transportation and understanding expectations and feedback of stakeholders. IWAI is undertaking targeted initiatives to address the expectation and feedback received to further enhance traffic on NWs.

  • PM GatiShakti Multimodal Waterway Connectivity Summit held in Varanasi from 11th -12th November 2022 attended by Hon’ble Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (PSW), Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce, Hon’ble Ministers- PSW. This summit focussed on creating more awareness about the PM GatiShakti and 07 community jetties were inaugurated, and foundation stones laid for 08 community jetties on the Ganga.
  • Flagging off of world’s longest river cruise and waterways development projects inaugurated and foundation stone was laid online by Hon’ble Prime Minister in the presence of Hon’ble Minister PSW, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 13th January 2023 at Varanasi.

6.         Interventions under the World Bank supported JMVP-II (Arth Ganga)
project for the socio-economic up liftment of the population living around
river Ganga i.e. NW-1:

JMVP-II (Arth Ganga) has been initiated on an approach based on the principles
of the sustainable development model to energize economic activities which will
impact on overall over all ecosystem along the riverbank.

This can lead to inclusive growth and play a key role in improving the
livelihoods of the populations with the transportation of goods and
passengers (including tourist) through National Waterways No. 1. The projects envisaged at a total cost of Rs. 746.00 cr.

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