Washington, April 12, 2017: The World Bank will support India as it sustainably develops its first modern inland water transport fairway on a 1,360 km-stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia, bringing thousands of jobs in cargo logistics and transportation to one of the most populous regions in the country.
The World Bank’s Board today approved a $375 million loan to help the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) put in place the state-of-the-art infrastructure and navigation services needed 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. The Capacity Augmentation of National Waterway 1 (Jal Marg Vikas) Project will help save more than 150,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions annually by moving cargo away from fossil fuel-consuming road and rail networks.
Experience from other countries shows that carrying bulk cargo by water is cheaper and less polluting that transporting it by road and rail. Goods in India, however, mostly travel by congested road and rail networks, slowing cargo movement and increasing the costs of trade logistics, which are estimated to account for as much as 18 % of the country’s GDP. The current logistics network is also insufficient to accommodate the threefold increase in freight movement expected over the coming decade.
“Harnessing the mighty rivers of South Asia to build an effective multi-modal transport strategy will give the region a competitive edge on the global scene,” says Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director for India. “This project will allow India to move goods seamlessly between road, rail and water, and bring down logistics’ costs. Importantly, this Project will help IWAI put in place environmentally-sustainable strategies for inland navigation that can be replicated on other waterways in India and other countries.”