In a first, Maersk a Danish logistics conglomerate, moved 16 containers along National Waterway - 1 on river Ganga.
“World’s largest container shipping company Maersk Line will move 16 containers on river Ganga (National Waterway-1) from Varanasi to Kolkata on Tuesday. Maersk moves 12 million containers yearly across the globe. The firm is onboard India’s inland waterways for the first time,” a ministry statement had noted on Monday (11 February).
However, this is not the first time that shipping is being undertaken on the waterway. Firms like PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech, IFFCO Fertilizers and Dabur India have already moved cargo from India’s hinterland to the Eastern coast.
“Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferage and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints,” the ministry added.
Developing India’s inland waterways has been a significant focus area for the current NDA government. It passed the National Waterways Act, 2016, which proposed to add 106 National Waterways, taking the total to 111.
This emphasis on waterways is justified since waterways are cost-effective, environment-friendly and logistically efficient when compared to roads and railways. Even the cargo conveyance cost is lower because one horsepower of energy can ferry four tonnes by water, against only 150 kg by road and 500 kg by rail.
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