Inland water transport (IWT) has a 2% modal share in freight movement. Based on the findings of feasibility studies and detailed project reports (DPR), about 5149 km of 26 national waterways (NWs) have been determined to be viable for development for shipping and navigation purposes. The use of waterways is determined by a variety of criteria, the most important of which are vessel availability, uninterrupted fairway, and cost-effective first and last-mile connections. The availability of boats in the private sector has been limited for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are market-driven. In the case of a fairway, the development is only sustainable to the required level if the conservation works conducted are supplemented by sufficient water releases into the stream.
Given the circumstances, there has been a positive trend in IWT traffic increase, from 19.77 MTPA on February 2, 2001, to 96.31 MTPA in 2021-22 (till February). According to the 2014 RITES Report on the “Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid,” the cost comparison between the Inland Water Transport (IWT) mode and other dominant modes of surface transport is as follows:
NW-1 (The Ganga) freight flow has increased from 4.89 million tonnes (MT) in 2016-17 to 9.21 million tonnes in 202-21, representing an 88 percent increase during 2016-17 and a 17 percent CAGR. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has taken on the execution of the World Bank-assisted Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) at a total cost of Rs. 4634 crore, including work on activities in line with the Arth Ganga Concept at a cost of Rs. 746 crore. The JMVP-II was designed in July 2020 based on the Arth Ganga idea, with the goal of enhancing socio-economic development and economic advantages for farmers, traders, and the general public living along the Ganga, logistics cost reduction, and so on. The Arth Ganga initiative is in its early stages and is proceeding as planned.
The JMVP-II (Arth Ganga) project comprises the construction of 62 community jetties and 10 Ro-Ro terminals (5 pairs) in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
The Arth Ganga projects are at the DPR/tendering stage. There have been no initiatives along the lines of Arth Ganga constructed or proposed for Maharashtra or the southern states.