Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has officially opened the country’s second riverside multimodal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, together with Minister of State for Shipping, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya. This follows the completion of a similar facility at Varanasi last year, while a third MMT is under construction.
The MMT at Sahibganj is expected to help connect the industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to global markets and provide more opportunities for Indo-Nepal cargo flows, through the inland waterways route. In particular the new facility will play an important role in the transportation of domestic coal from local mines in Rajmahal to thermal power plants along the coast. Fertilisers, cement and sugar are other commodities expected to be transported through the terminal.
The MMT will have an initial cargo handling capacity of around 3 million tonnes a year, rising to 5.5 million tonnes after a second phase of development funded by the private sector concession holder. In addition, a freight village is also proposed on 335 acres of land adjacent to the terminal.
The three MMTs are being built as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project that aims to develop the stretch of River Ganga between Varanasi to Haldia for the navigation of large vessels up to 1500-2000 tonnes deadweight, by maintaining a draughty of 2-3 metres along this stretch of the river and setting up other systems required for safe navigation. The objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheaper and more environment friendly means of transport, especially for cargo movement. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project Implementing Agency.