Maersk moving containers on river Ganga comes after similar movements already done by companies like PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech, IFFCO Fertilizers, Dabur India.
On November 12, 2018, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicated India's first riverine multimodal terminal on river Ganga at Varanasi to the nation. He also received India's first container cargo that travelled on river Ganga from Kolkata to Varanasi. The events were milestones in the development of Inland Water Transport (IWT) in India and also broke grounds for an increase in business activities on National Waterway-1.
Container cargo transport comes with several advantages. Namely, it reduces the handling cost, enables easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, and allows cargo owners to limit their carbon footprints.
The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial help of the World Bank at a cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project aims to facilitate commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
The Union Minister for Shipping Shri 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 conducted 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).