The government intends to increase the share of inland navigation to 5% according to 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 Lok Sabha that Inland shipping (IWT) is the most economical means of transportation, especially for bulk goods such as coal, iron ore, cement, grain and fertilizer. It is currently underutilized with a 2% share of the Indian modal mix. The government intends to increase the share of inland navigation to 5% Maritime India Vision (MIV)-2030. The various economic and environmental benefits of inland waterway transport compared to road and rail transport are detailed below Annex 1.

In addition, development work has been initiated under the Jal Marg Vikas Project II (Arth Ganga), which is based on the principles of the sustainable development model, to boost economic activities that lead to inclusive growth and play a key role in improving people’s livelihoods are carried out with the transport of goods and people (including tourists) by population National Waterways No. 1(River Ganges).

Steps taken for the growth of waterway freight transport are detailed below Annex.-2

Annex 1

The socio-economic and environmental benefits of inland navigation mode:

1. Lower running costs and relatively lower fuel consumption

factors considered prices taken into account source
waterways Street rail
power consumption 0.0048 litres/Tkm 0.0313 litres/Tkm 0.0089 litres/Tkm 11th Report of the Plan working group on shipping and inland navigation
vehicle operating costs 0.843 Rs./Tkm Rs. 1,170/Tkm Rs. 1,009/Tkm Planning Commission: TTS study

2. Less polluting means of transport

factors considered Prices considered (Rs./TKm) source
waterways Street rail
air pollution 0.03 0.202 0.0366 Planning Commission: TTS study
noise pollution irrelevant 0.0032 0.0012 Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC)
soil and water pollution irrelevant 0.005 irrelevant PIANO

3. Less space required compared to other means of transport

factor considered Prices Considered (Rs/TKm) source
waterways Street rail
surface cast irrelevant 0.0002 0.0001 PIANO

4. More environmentally friendly mode of transport

factor considered Prices Considered (Rs/TKm) source
waterways Street rail
emission of greenhouse gases 0.0006 0.0031 0.0006 12th five year plan




I. Fairway expansion work:

Fairway development work to ensure the shallowest available depth (LAD) of 3.0 meters at Haldia-Barh, 2.5 meters at Barh-Ghazipur and 2.2 meters at Ghazipur-Varanasi sections on NW-1 is being carried out as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) was carried out by IWAI with technical and financial support from the World Bank. In order to improve connectivity between NW-1 and NW-2/NW-16 via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route, the critical and shallow sections between Sirajganj and Daikhowa on Protocol Route No. 1 and 2 and Ashuganj and Zakiganj on Protocol Route No Nos. 3 & 4 in Bangladesh are being jointly developed by India and Bangladesh for year-round navigability (with target LAD of 2.5m). Similarly, fairway development work is underway on the NW-97 at 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 to undertake engineering interventions to make the waterways navigable for transportation purposes. Once complete, these new waterways will provide an alternate means of transportation in their respective regions.

iii. Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax services included in various national waterways-

Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax Vessel Operations inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minster in February 2021 for the following routes:

ship name Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax services between Date of inauguration by the Honorable Prime Minister
MV Rani Gaidinliu & MV Sachin Deve Barman Neamati and Kamalabari (Majuly) 02/18/2021
MV JFR Jacob Guwahati and North Guwahati 02/18/2021
MV Bob Khathing Dhubri and Fakirganj (USA Hatsingimar) 02/18/2021
MV Adi Shankara & MVC.V. Raman Wellingdon Island and Bolghaty 02/14/2021

IV. Revision of charging and collection of fees:

In line with the Indian government’s vision of promoting inland waterways as a complementary mode of transport, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has considered a waiver of waterway user charges for an initial period of three years.


CAR-D (cargo data) portal: CAR-D is a web-based portal for the collection and compilation, analysis and dissemination of all national waterway cargo and cruise movement data to stakeholders.

PANI (portal for asset and navigation information): PANI is an integrated solution that combines river navigation and infrastructure information on a single platform.

It provides detailed information on various National Waterways features and assets such as fairway, infrastructure facilities, river crossing structures, jetty connections, emergency services to facilitate cargo transportation.

These solutions increase collaboration between different stakeholders, improve organizational consistency, increase resource flexibility, improve ownership and accountability for each stakeholder, resulting in improved management of activities. Public access to key work done by IWAI for the sector strengthens IWAI’s position in the marketplace and increases confidence in the sector.

3. Improved regional trade in inland mode:

A. Adding new ports of call and routes in India and Bangladesh under PIWT&T: With 7 new ports of call in addition to the existing 6 on each side as well as the addition/expansion of 2 waterway routes in addition to the existing 8 routes under PIWT&T between India and Bangladesh, the accessibility of the inland waterway mode for trade between India and Bangladesh is expected to increase and increase result in traffic growth on NWs.

B. Trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh: Bhutanese stone exporters have identified inland waterways as an alternative mode of transport, given the advantages associated with waterway mode, such as lower transport costs, larger shipment size compared to road, avoidance of congestion on land routes, etc. The first move, supervised by IWAI, was successful conducted in July 2019. This inland waterway mode trade is expected to continue and reach significant levels in the coming years.

4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to make it easier for stakeholders to use inland navigation and to access the various information related to national waterways

The list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various national waterways available on the IWAI website is as follows:

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

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

iii. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the MoU on the Use of Inland Waterways for the Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the 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 Checklist for the Operation of Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax Vessels on National Waterways.

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

5. Stakeholder consultations: IWAI conducted stakeholder consultations in six different locations (Kolkata, Kochi, Mumbai, Patna, Goa and Dhaka) in FY-20, 9nos. during FY-21 and 06 No. Conference with FY22 webinars on cargo advertising.

The Waterways Conclave took place in Dibrugarh on the 11th and 12ththApril 2022. The event was attended by 4 neighboring countries and 12 waterway-connected states for the promotion of the waterway.

The 1St The Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 was organized in Mumbai on May 14-15, 2022. The river cruising potential sessions were organized by IWAI and attended by leading cruise lines. These interactions helped to promote waterways as a mode of transport and to understand stakeholder expectations and feedback. IWAI is conducting targeted initiatives to meet expectations and feedback received to further improve traffic on NWs.

  • PM GatiShakti Multimodal Waterway Connectivity Summit in Varanasi from 11th -12th November 2022, attended by The Hon’ble Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (PSW), The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, The Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce, Hon’ble Ministers-PSW. This summit focused on raising awareness of Prime Minister GatiShakti and 07 community walkways were inaugurated and foundations were laid for 08 community walkways along the Ganges.
  • On February 13, 2020, the flagship of the world’s longest river cruise and waterway development projects was inaugurated and the cornerstone laid online by the Honorable Prime Minister in the presence of the Honorable Minister PSW, the Honorable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradeshth January 2023 in Varanasi.

6. Interventions under the World Bank supported JMVP-II (Arth Ganga)
Project for the socio-economic upgrading of the surrounding population
River Ganges i.e. NW-1:

JMVP-II (Arth Ganga) was initiated with a principles-based approach
of the sustainable development model to stimulate economic activities that will do so
Impact on the entire ecosystem along the river bank.

This can lead to inclusive growth and play a key role in improving
Subsistence of the population with the transport of goods and
Passengers (including tourists) through the National Waterways No. 1. The planned projects with a total cost of Rs. €746.00


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