PepsiCo consignment marks first container movement on inland waterways

New Delhi: India’s first inland waterways will have the inaugural run of containers belonging to PepsiCo which will be moving 16 of its containers from Kolkata to Varanasi on Tuesday.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) officials said the food and Beverage giant would move 16 containers from Kolkata to Varanasi on NW-1.

PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers equivalent to 16 truckloads – filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days, the officials said.

Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted describing this as the biggest news of the week. He said that for the first time since independence a container is moving on inland vessel. PepsiCo is moving 16 containers from Kolkata to Varanasi on vessel MV RN Tagore, over river Ganga. Such a huge accomplishment!#SagarMala, Gadkari tweeted.

Nitin Gadkari also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be receiving the first container vessel that travelled from Kolkata to Varanasi on inland waterways on November 12 at Varanasi at the newly developed Multi modal terminal and will be dedicating the terminal to the nation.

Senior shipping ministry and IWAI officials are expected to present to mark the event.

The vessel will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.

The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi covering a distance of 1390 km with technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore.

The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

Allahabad IFFCO Inland Waterways Authority of India Jal Marg Vikas Project

Secretary (Shipping), Govt. of India, Gopal Krishna along with chairman, IWAI, Pravir Pandey and other senior Government officials will flag off the vessel carrying the consignment in the presence of PepsiCo representatives. The event coincides with another momentous day for IWT in India as IWAI’s first foray into Public Private Partnership (PPP) model will become a reality with the handing over of operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to M/s Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd. (SAPEL) on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model.

Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

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