The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk Line, will move 16 containers on river Ganga (National Waterway 1) from Varanasi to Kolkata on Tuesday.
With Maersk on board, cargo from the hinterland will move directly to and from Bangladesh and the rest of the world through Bay of Bengal.
Besides cutting down the handling cost, the container cargo transport facilitates modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage as well as reduce the carbon footprints.
Maersk Line For The First Time
It is for the first time that Maersk is onboard India’s inland waterways.
Earlier, firms like PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech, IFFCO Fertilizers, Dabur India have accomplished the task.
Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 70,000 people.
The company transports 12 million containers annually around the globe.
Riverine Multimodal Terminal
On 12 November 2018, PM Narendra Modi had dedicated India’s first riverine multimodal terminal on river Ganga at Varanasi (National Waterway 1) to the nation.
He also received India’s first container vessel that sailed from Kolkata on 30 October 2018. The vessel is carrying cargo belonging to PEPSICO (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi. This was the first container movement on an inland waterway in India after independence.
This is the first of the three Multi-Modal Terminals and two Inter-Modal Terminals that are being constructed on the river.
Being built under the government’s Jal Marg Vikas project, the project aims to develop the stretch of River Ganga between Varanasi to Haldia for large vessel navigation with up to 1500-2000 tonnes weight.
This will be done by maintaining a draught of 2-3 m in this stretch of the river and setting up other systems required for safe navigation.
The project has an estimated cost of Rs. 5,369.18 crores on an equal sharing basis between Government of India and the World Bank.
Union Minister for Shipping and Water Resource Nitin Gadkari had flagged off a consignment of Maruti cars from Varanasi to Haldia in August 2016.
Since then, pilot movements on National Waterways are currently being done on various stretches.
More than 15 of them have already been successfully completed, including integrated movements through NW-1 (Ganga), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and NW-2 (Brahmaputra).