In accordance with the Centre’s focus on boosting connectivity to the North Eastern Region, a landmark container cargo vessel is ready to set sail from West Bengal’s Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati. The container cargo vessel carrying a consignment of 53 TEUs will sail through the National Waterway-2.

The vessel MV Maheswari will be the first-ever containerized cargo movement via Indo-Bangladesh route and Brahmaputra river to the northeast.  It will be carrying 53 containers of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverages etc. The cargo vessel will be accompanied by two other vessels: MV Aai and MV Beki, carrying 1200 tonne of coal.

The voyage of the ship will be a 1425 km- long IWT movement through National Waterway 1 (the Ganga), NW 97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW 2 (the Brahmaputra), in a journey spanning 12-15 days, ultimately reaching the IWAI terminal at Pandu in  Guwahati.  It may be stated here that the Pandu Port, the biggest port in Assam and the largest port in the entire Brahmaputra valley, is also the gateway to the rest of the northeastern states.

The movement of the cargo vessel is aimed at establishing commercial feasibility and viability of the Inland Waterways Transport Mode that will give new impetus to future cargo movements that are already planned on the stretch. This will be an inaugural step in acting as an alternate route for transport of raw materials and products, apart from being a milestone in the development of water transport and industry of the North Eastern Region.

Vessel MV Maheswari is expected to be flagged off by Shri Gopal Krishna, Secretary (Ministry of Shipping). It may be added that India’s first container cargo vessel MV Rabindranath Tagore sailed successfully for Varanasi from Kolkata on National Waterway-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system through the Ganga river on 12 November, last year.