The first ever container cargo movement via Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and the Brahmaputra river to start from West Bengal’s Haldia today, according to an official. The vessel MV Maheshwari, carrying 53 containers of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage will take 12-15 days to reach the IWAI terminal at Pandu, Guwahati.
The vessel will sail through national waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra). The ship will carry 21 containers of petrochemicals, 20 of edible oil and other beverage and mineral water, reported the official, adding that this is the first ever containerised cargo movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) had already started ‘bulk cargo’ to Assam through Indo-Bangladesh protocol route but the response has not been satisfactory, and only few movement took place owing to the draft issue, as stated in media reports.
‘Due to the draft issue, mostly in the Bangladesh part of the protocol route, all the vessels are carrying almost half of their capacity. Each barge has a capacity of 2,300 tonne but carries only 1100-1200 tonne,’ shared sources. Two more vessels with 1200 tonne of coal will also sail to Assam. The Centre will finance 80% of the estimated cost of Rs 305.84 crore for dredging in two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways, Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj- Zakiganj on the IBP route.