New Delhi: Inland Waterways Authority of India created a history of a kind when Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS, Shipping (IC) flagged off IWAI’s vessel containing cargo which arrived from Bhutan to India for further export to Bangladesh via Inland waterways. This is a first of its kind movement where Indian inland waterways are being utilised for connecting two countries – Landlocked Bhutan & Bangladesh.
1000 Metric Ton of crushed stone aggregates will sail on Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) vessel MV AAI from Dhubri port in Assam (India) to Narayanganj (Bangladesh) through India’s National Waterway-2 (river Brahmaputra) and Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route.
“This movement reduces the logistics cost by 30%, and one vessel of 2000 tonnes of IWAI has moved this cargo which is equivalent to 50 truckloads. So not only that this is a cheaper mode of transport but also it leads to sub-regional connectivity between 3 countries, thru waterways and that’s why it is historic”-Pravir Pandey, Chairman, IWAI
Stone aggregates are transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan which is 160 KMs from IWAI’s Dhubri jetty in Asaam.
Cheap and environment-friendly
Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS, Shipping (IC) tweeted “A new chapter in Indian History! Flagged off Nation’s 1st @IWAI_ShipMin vessel carrying cargo from #Bhutan to #Bangladesh. For 1st time #IndianWaterways would act as a route b/w 2 countries.”
A new chapter in Indian History!
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) July 12, 2019
Speaking to PSU Watch Pravir Pandey, Chairman, IWAI said “This is the first ever movement of cargo from Bhutan to Bangladesh thru the national Waterway-2. This movement reduces the logistics cost by 30%, and one vessel of 2000 tonnes of IWAI has moved this cargo which is equivalent to 50 truckloads. So not only that this is a cheaper mode of transport but also it leads to sub-regional connectivity between 3 countries, thru waterways and that’s why it is historic”
The move will instil confidence in exporters
Bhutan has been exporting a significant quantity of stone aggregates through the land route for different construction projects in Bangladesh. These exports through Inland Waterways mode serve as an alternate mode of transportation which is cheaper and more environment-friendly. It also offers a larger shipment size as compared to road, avoiding congestion on land routes. While this consignment is being transported in one single barge through Inland Waterways, by road it would have taken 50 trucks of 20 Metric Ton capacity to carry the same volume of cargo.
This movement is expected to inspire confidence among the Bhutanese exporters to increasingly shift to waterways mode and increase the trade of stone aggregates and other cargo between Bhutan and Bangladesh through India’s inland waterways. Bhutanese exporters and importers are likely to use this route frequently now.