India’s Inland Waterway Authority has contracted HHLA subsidiaries Uniconsult Universal Transport Consulting and HPC Hamburg Port Consulting to help towards increasing inland waterway traffic in the country.
The aim is to use waterways to take the strain off road and rail infrastructure in some parts of India.
Hartmut Beyer, managing director of Uniconsult, said: “Compared to other countries, India has previously made little use of the opportunities offered by inland shipping.”
“The Indian government wants to change this, as it has recognised that this mode of transport offers ecological benefits and can alleviate pressure on the road and rail networks,” he added.
National Waterway 1, which is part of the Baghirati-Ganges river system, has been identified as being particularly suitable for a pilot project
Currently, around 5.5m tonnes of bulk cargo are transported on inland water vessels on the waterway while 190m tonnes were transported on the Rhine in 2015.
According to a statement from HHLA, the plan is to work with a local expert firm to bring together forwarders and inland shipping companies.
“Freight traffic on the waterways, which is still new to India, requires proactive support, as there is not only a need to establish new processes, but also to win over senders and recipients,” the statement noted.
Frank Busse, team leader at Uniconsult, stated that the first phase of the project had attracted “considerable interest within the market.”