Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) 31 August 2018 made public 13 standardised state-of-the-art ship designs suitable for large barge haulage on river Ganga (National Waterway-1).
This marks attaining of a critical milestone in the growth of the country’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector as it will help overcome the unique navigation challenges river Ganga throws due to its complex river morphology, hydraulics, acute bends, shifting channels, meanders and current. It will serve as an enabler for the domestic shipbuilding industry working on inland vessels and open huge possibilities for cargo and passenger movement on National Waterway-1.
The Government is implementing Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on NW-1 (Varanasi-Haldia stretch) at a cost of Rs 5369.18 crore with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank. Even as the work on JMVP is going on in full steam, the specially designed vessels will navigate on low drafts with high carrying capacity and at the same time, environment-friendly. For the shipbuilding industry, the new designs will translate into a savings of Rs 30-50 lakhs in the building of a vessel.
These vessels will sail even in depths of about two metres carrying about 350 cars on a five-deck car carrier. Some of the designs would enable movement of bulk cargo carriers with a capacity of 2500 tonnes at three metres depth, thereby, removing almost 150 truckloads of pressure from the road or one full rail rake with the plying of just one such vessel.
IWAI had awarded the contract to M/s DST in September 2016 through global bidding after a rigorous screening. When the Scoping Missions from World Bank first travelled on river Ganga, very typical challenges were observed unlike the trained rivers like Rhine, Danube, Mississippi and St. Lawrence Seaways which are flourishing waterways.