About Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), Navigable Inland Waterways, IWAI

Headline : India connects Bangladesh to Bhutan, through waterway

Details :

The News:

  • In a first-ever development, Indian waterways is being used to transport cargo between 2 countries i.e. Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  • The inland waterways vessel containing cargo from Bhutan to Bangladesh will move via River Brahmaputra ( NW 2) and the Indo Bangla Protocol Route

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News Summary

  • The stone aggregates were transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan which is 160 KMs from IWAI’s Dhubri jetty in Asaam.
  • The first ship carrying crushed stones from Bhutan started its journey from Dhubri river port in Assam to Narayanganj in Bangladesh
  • India’s Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), which is responsible for developing and maintaining national waterways, has carried out dredging on Brahmaputra to maintain an assured draft in navigation channel.
  • At least 10 other National Waterways are under development currently.
  • India is increasingly using its rivers to transport cargo which is cheaper than transport on roads.

Significance of the development

  • The exports through Inland Waterways mode will serve as an alternate mode of transportation which will save 30% transportation cost, almost 50 per cent time and more environment friendly
  • It also offers larger shipment size as compared to road, avoiding congestion on land routes.
  • The move will facilitate Bhutan and Bangladesh trade through Brahmaputra as a part of Indo-Bangladesh protocol route.
  • This will help in promoting Inland Waterways in India.
  • It will also help India access the North-East States from Kolkata, Haldia through the inland waterways via Bangladesh.
  • This will also give an impetus to trade and tourism in these countries.


About Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT)

  • In 1972, India and Bangladesh signed the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
  • It is a bilateral protocol connecting the inland waterways of India and Bangladesh for the transportation of goods and keeping their respective waterways navigable, while providing infrastructure facilities.
  • The protocol further states that both countries will mutually decide the proposed expenses; voyage permissions shall be taken at least four days prior to the actual journey; and the vessels shall share equal tonnage.
  • The India-Bangladesh  Protocol  Routes  include  parts  of  rivers  Ganga,  Hooghly, Brahmaputra,  and  Barak,  and  the  Sundarbans

Note: In 2018, India and Bangladesh signed an agreement for inclusion of Dhubriin India and Pangaonin Bangladesh as new Ports of Call in PIWTT.


About Navigable Inland Waterways:

  • A stretch of water, not part of the sea, over which craft of a carrying capacity  not  less  than  50  tonnes  can  navigate  when  normally
  • Rivers, lakes, canals, backwaters and reservoirs primarily constitute the source for inland waterways.

National Waterways:

  • National Waterways   means   an   Inland   Waterway   of   India   designated   as   a   National   Waterway by the Government.
  • In order to increase significance and efficiency of inland waterways, government has identified 10 important waterways which being given status of national waterways. Some of the declared waterways are –

About IWAI

  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence in 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of Inland Water Transport infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
  • The head office of the Authority is at Noida.


Section : Economics