Union minister opens intermodal terminal on NW-1 at Kalughat

IWAI built this terminal on National Waterways-1 passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal to develop it as a reliable cargo logistics route with investment of ₹5,000-cr

Intermodal Terminal

Patna: In a significant boost to Bihar’s transportation landscape, Union minister of ports, shipping, and waterways (MoPSW) Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday inaugurated Kalughat Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) terminal, also called intermodal terminal, and two community jetties in Bettiah, Bihar.

Kalughat, strategically located on the north bank of the river Ganga in Bihar’s Saran district and on the National Waterways-1 (NWs-1), emerges as a vital link in the region’s transportation network. With its direct access to NH-19, the terminal serves as a pivotal link for cargo movement, particularly for Nepal-bound shipments via Raxaul and the hinterland of North Bihar.

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Built at a cost of ₹82.48 crore, the terminal’s infrastructure includes a 125m x 30m berth with a capacity of 77,000 TEUs annually. The Kalughat Terminal will have direct road connectivity with NH-19 and is at a critical location for transportation of cargo originating or destined for hinterland of North Bihar.

IWAI has endeavored to develop NW-1 passing through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as a reliable cargo logistics route with an investment of about ₹5,000 crore.

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On the occasion, Sonowal said, “In the last 10 years, four multi-modal terminals (MMT) have been developed on national waterways, which include MMT Varanasi, Sahibganj, Haldia and Kalughat. Three of our neighbouring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar have been connected by waterways leading to increase in regional trade. The projects worth ₹86 crore inaugurated today will usher in all-round economic prosperity to the riverine community of Bihar through enhanced and smoother transportation of goods and passengers”.

Union minister of ports, shipping & waterways Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurating Kalughat Inland Waterways Transport terminal in Bettian

Moreover, floating pontoon jetties at Mangalpur and Bettiah on the river Gandak have been established to connect Nepal and India via NW-37, representing an investment of ₹3.33 crore. These jetties will significantly enhance market access for producers of various goods, fostering economic exchange and growth in the region.

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“These projects mark a significant milestone in Bihar’s transportation infrastructure and reaffirm the commitment to leveraging the potential of inland waterways for inclusive growth and development’, added the central minister.

It is to be noted that, as a part of Jal Marg Vikas Project, IWAI initiated the development of the IWT ecosystem for NW-1 through construction of MMTs and intermodal terminals (IMTs) for cargo handling along with construction of navigational locks, carrying out fairway development for uninterrupted navigation, provision of night navigation and RIS facilities. The government has been undertaking various measures to develop national waterways as a viable, thriving mode of transport, especially for cargo, to reduce logistics costs and make Indian industry.

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The Number of operational waterways has increased to 23 from 05 in 2014. The cargo movement on NWs has increased significantly to 126.15 million-ton from April 2022- March 2023 against 108.79 million-ton last year for the same period, recording 16 % growth.

The Sagarmala programme of the MoPSW is harnessing 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways. To unlock the potential of waterways under Sagarmala programme includes declaration of 111 (5 existing and 106 new) NWs under the National Waterways Act, 2016. NW-I in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal; NW-2 in Assam; NW-3 in Kerala, have already been developed with fairway navigational aids, jetties and terminals with mechanised equipment handling facilities for loading of cargo. These waterways are operational and vessels are plying on them. In addition, NW-10 (river Amba), NW-68(river Mandovi), NW-73 (river Narmada), NW-83(Rajpuri Creek), NW-85 (Revadanda Creek- Kundalikariver system), NW-91 (Shastri river- Jaigad creek system), NW-97 (Sunderbans Waterways), NW-100 (river Tapti) and NW-111(river Zuari) are operational.

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As part of the comprehensive Maritime India Vision (MIV)-2030, the government has outlined ambitious plans to elevate the share of Inland Water Transport (IWT) to 5%. The Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 aims to operationalize 50 waterways by 2047, facilitating efficient transportation networks nationwide.

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