The World Bank has supported India financially by approving a $375 million loan to develop its first modern internal water transport fairway. It is given for 1,360 km-stretch of the Ganga River between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia. This will bring numerous jobs in cargo logistics and transportation to one of the most populous regions in the country.
The World Bank’s loan is to help the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) put in place the state-of-the-art infrastructure and routing services required to develop the waterway — known as National Waterway 1 — as an efficient logistics artery for northern India, while adopting the least intrusive methods of making the river navigable.
Taking experience from other countries that use waterways for transportation, it is clear that transportation of bulk cargo by water is cheaper and less polluting as compared to transporting it by road and rail.
Current Transportation Scenario in India
Currently in India, Rail and road networks are mostly used for goods carrying. Rail networks usually slow down the cargo movement and it also increase the costs of trade logistics, estimated to account for 18 % of the India’s GDP. Also the current logistics network is not sufficient to contain increase in goods movement estimated over the upcoming decade.