Govt plans to develop waterport hubs to boost international trade

Three new waterports will be developed in Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The government is planning to establish three multi-modal waterport hubs to accelerate shipment of goods within India as well as facilitate trade flows with neighbouring countries. The three waterports will be developed in Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said. “The ministry is working towards establishing a ‘waterport’ – a waterways port – in Sahibganj in the state of Jharkhand that will accelerate import and export of goods between India and Bangladesh,” Gadkari said. Inland waterways make a paltry 3% of the entire transportation in India. China carries 47% of its total transportation through Inland waterways, while the European Union conducts 44% of the freight movement by inland waterways.  In Bangladesh, inland waterways transportation constitutes about 35%. India has about 14,500 km of navigable inland waterways. In China, navigable inland waterways makes over 100,000 km. Gadkari emphasised that it was important to develop India’s inland waterways as this will not only bring down the logistics costs for the industry but also offer an economic transportation of bulk cargo and passengers across various parts of the country. China and the EU have about 100,000 and 11,000 cargo vessels plying through inland waterways. While the number of cargo vessels using the inland waterway systems in India is less than 1,000. “The tonnage of barges for these waterways will be enhanced through special design to handle larger volumes of passenger traffic and cargo,” Gadkari said. He said that Indian ports have become profitable once again and that it should be developed and managed keeping in mind the international standards. The profits gained from the Indian ports and Shipping Corporation of India should be channelised for inland waterways development. India has five recognised national waterways. The government now plans to convert 101 rivers into national waterways for which framework will be articulated soon.  

October 1st, 2015 | 1:50pm IST.