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In a first Indian waterways connect Bhutan and Bangladesh

Map of the route used, minister flagging of the ship. Photograph:( Others )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 12, 2019, 10.20 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

In a first-ever development, Indian waterways are being used to transport cargo between Bhutan and Bangladesh. 

Around 1000 metric tons of stones from Bhutan are being transported to Bangladesh using the Brahmaputra by ship MV AAI which set sail from Dhubri in Assam on Friday. The Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI)'s ship will reach Narayanganj in Bangladesh with the Bhutanese cargo.

The ship was digitally flagged off by Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya and will use the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.

Speaking on the occasion the minister said, "Transport of cargo through this route will cut short travel time by 8 to 10 days, and reduce transportation cost by 30%, bringing down logistics costs."

The stones were transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan to Dhubri in Assam, the total distance between the both is 160 kilometres. If the same 1000 MT of stones is carried via road, 70 trucks will be needed.

At least 10 other National Waterways are under development currently. Brahmaputra river is National waterway number 2.

India is increasingly using its rivers to transport cargo which is cheaper than transport on roads.

With about 14500 kilometres of navigable waterways includes rivers, canals etc currently about 55 million tones of cargo is being moved annually by inland water transport systems.