Source: Indian Waterways Authority of India
In line with Government’s focus on improving connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), a landmark container cargo consignment will sail on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati. The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (River Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra). This is the first-ever containerized cargo movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route.
About Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade
There is a Protocol (agreement) between India & Bangladesh, under which vessels of either country can travel through specified river routes in the other country. Inland Water Transit and Trade between India and Bangladesh. There are four specific river routes and 5 ports of call in each country designated under the Protocol. The present Protocol is valid up to March 2020 with a clause for automatic renewal thereafter. These are as follows: –
- Kolkata – Haldia – Raimongal – Chalna – Khulna – Mongla – Kaukhali-Barisal – Hizla – Chandpur – Narayanganj – Aricha – Sirajganj – Bahadurabad – Chilmari – Dhubri – Pandu- Silghat; and vice versa (Total one-way length: 1720 Km)
- Kolkata – Haldia – Raimongal – Mongla – Kaukhali – Barisal – Hizla – Chandpur – Narayanganj – Bhairab Bazar – Ajmiriganj – Markuli – Sherpur – Fenchuganj – Zakiganj – Karimganj; and vice versa (Total one-way length: 1318 Km)
- Rajshahi – Godagari – Dhulian; and vice versa (Total one-way length: 78 Km)
- Karimganj – Zakiganj – Fenchuganj – Sherpur – Markuli – Ajmiriganj – Bhairab Bazar – Narayanganj – Chandpur – Aricha – Siraganj – Bahadurabad – Chilmari – Dhubri – Pandu- Silghat; vice versa (Total one-way length: 1416 Km)
The five ports of call in each country are as follows:
Transportation of cargo through the IBP route has been taking place regularly for many-many years. However, transportation of Indian transit cargo on these protocol routes reduced in the last 40-15 years primarily due to less depth available in Sirajganj – Daikhowa & Ashuganj – Zakiganj stretch of Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) during non-monsoon months. Considering this, the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh have recently agreed to undertake dredging work in these stretches (with 80% funding for Govt. of India). This initiative is expected to substantially enhance cargo movement by IWT mode between Haldia & Kolkata ports and Guwahati/Silchar and other locations along Brahmaputra and Barak rivers in Assam.