A major new piece of container infrastructure has been officially opened by the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. Varanasi Multi Modal Terminal (MMT) is located on the River Ganga and is the first of three terminals that are being built on the river as part of a strategy for opening up navigation to larger vessels, with World Bank support. The others are to be located at Sahibganj and Haldia. The objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheaper and more environment friendly means of transport, especially for cargo movements.
The Varanasi MMT is being built on a 33.34 hectares site and will have an annual cargo capacity of 1.26 million tons. Facilities include a 200m long jetty, two mobile harbour cranes and supporting services and infrastructure.
The new MMT is to be operated by a private company that is being selected through an international selective bidding process. The wining bid is expected to be announced by the end of the year.
During the visit by the Prime Minister, the new terminal also received a container vessel carrying cargo belonging to PepsiCo (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi. This is the first time that container movements have been made on India’s inland waterway system. The IWAI vessel Ravindranath Tagore transported 16 containers and will make its return journey carrying fertiliser from IFFCO.