KOLKATA, Nov 4: The first ever containerised cargo movement via Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and Brahmaputra river will start from West Bengal's Haldia on Monday, an official said.
The vessel MV Maheshwari, carrying 53 containers of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage will take 12-15 days to reach the IWAI terminal at Pandu in Assam's Guwahati, the official said.
The vessel will sail through national waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
The ship will carry 21 containers of petrochemicals, 20 of edible oil and others of beverage and mineral water, the official said, adding that this is the first ever containerised cargo movement on this Inland water transport (IWT) route.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) had already started "bulk cargo" to Assam through Indo-Bangladesh protocol route but the response has "not been satisfactory" and only few movements had taken place owing to draft issue, industry sources told PTI.
"Due to the draft issue, mostly in the Bangladesh part of the protocol route, all the vessels are carrying almost half of their capacity. Each barge has a capacity of 2,300 tonne but carries only 1100-1200 tonne," sources said.
Two more vessels with 1200 tonne of coal will also sail to Assam.
The Centre will finance 80 per cent of the estimated cost of 305.84 crore for dredging in two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways, Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj- Zakiganj on the IBP route. - PTI