IWAI plans to carry LNG to Nepal via Gazipur terminal
The World Bank-aided ₹5,369-crore JalMargVikas project of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), plans to reach LNG (liquefied natural gas) to Nepal via Gazipur in UP.
“We have decided to dedicate Gazipur terminal for LNG trade,” IWAI Vice-Chairman PravirPandey told newspersons on Friday in Kolkata. IWAI already planned a container terminal at Kalughat, near Patna, in Bihar targeting a slice of the Nepalese import cargo that is currently moved by rail or road from Kolkata port.
JalMargVikas aims to promote river transport on 1,600 km stretch of Ganga from Varanasi to Kolkata, also referred as National Waterway-I. The project drew its inspiration from movement of imported coal from Haldia port to Farakka by Ganga, initiated during the UPA rule.
With at least two LNG terminals mooted at Contai in West Bengal and Dhamra in West Bengal, gas marketing companies are now keen to tap the opportunities in the region.
Kolkata port authorities have already issued tenders for a LNG bunkering (re-fuelling stations) facility that will fuel the ships. The last date for submitting tender for the project is November 15.
IWAI also awarded a project to Petronet LNG for building and operating LNG bunker at Sahebgunj inland water terminal in Jharkhand. LNG is a greener fuel when compared to diesel or petrol.
LNG fuelled fleet
To promote usage, the Ganga Jalmarg Project will also procure 25 LNG fuelled vessels or barges, fit for river transport, of 1,500-2,000 tonne capacity each. The vessels will cost ₹10-15 crore each. This is part of the 60-65 vessels to be procured under the project. Pandey clarified that IWAI is not in the business of operating a fleet. The decision to procure barges is part of the market making initiative to encourage private sector to grab the opportunity.
Nearly 140 vessels now ply on the river, majority of them on Haldia-Farakka route.
To encourage barge manufacturing activity in India, the waterways authority have tied up with DST, Germany to design vessels suited for transportation by Ganga. The design will be available for public use. Talking about the progress of the project, Pandey said that the construction of ₹169-crore Varanasi terminal is on. The ₹280-crore Sahebgunj terminal is awarded to L&T.
Evaluation for contract of Haldia terminal and second lock at Farakka barrage is nearing completion.
Haldia (and Kalughat) will be a dedicated container terminal to be operated and maintained by private parties on a 30-year lease. Eleven top logistics companies in India have submitted bids for the project.
Also to be awarded is a ₹158-crore dredging contract to maintain three-metre assured draft between Farakka and Kahalgaon in Bihar for five years.
About development of other waterways, Pandey said dredging contract has been awarded for a 80-km stretch on National Waterways-IV. The project will help carry materials to build the proposed capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Dredging has started on a 126 km stretch on National Waterway-V connecting Kalinganagar with Dhamra port.
A similar contract will soon be awarded to improve draft on Barak river in Assam to ensure navigability to Karimgunj in Assam round the year.