Indian Economy News

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Amazon signed an MoU as the e-commerce cargo movement set its course for Ganga (NW 1)

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Amazon Seller Services Private Limited (Amazon) have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate the movement of cargo and the transportation of customer shipments and products over inland waterways, specifically the Ganga River (National Waterway 1).

The partnership between Amazon and IWAI is a significant stride for the movement of e-commerce cargo along the inland waterways. This alliance aims to optimise logistics, reduce environmental footprints, and foster economic growth by utilising the sustainability and efficiency of water transportation. The most environmentally friendly mode of transportation is via rail and road, which use 18.5% and 91.6% more fuel, respectively, than water transport, according to a World Bank report.

According to Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW) and Ayush, Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, who was addressing the gathering, “This marks another important leaf in the growth story of India’s waterways. Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the waterways have always been given special attention to enable it to become a wider and more popular form of transportation.” He added that as India progresses towards becoming an Atmanirbhar Bharat, the government is working tirelessly to realise this vision of the Prime Minister, allowing the waterways to become the rejuvenated conduit of growth. A significant step towards improving the flow of e-commerce cargo across our inland waterways would be this agreement. He further informed that the aim of this collaboration is to utilise the efficiency and sustainability of water transport to streamline logistics, reduce environmental impact, and promote economic growth.

The collaboration between Amazon India and IWAI is a step closer to achieving the Prime Minister's Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, which aims to promote cargo movement and the transportation of customer shipments and products via National Waterway-1 while also improving inland waterways as an inexpensive and sustainable mode of transportation.

Sagarmala has initiated 113 projects totalling Rs. 7,030 crore (US$ 843.4 million) related to RoRo/RoPax and Inland Water Transport in an effort to expedite water transport within the nation. Out of these projects, 15 projects worth Rs. 1,100 crore (US$ 132 million) have been completed and 32 projects worth Rs. 3,900 crore (US$ 467.9 million) are under implementation.

With the use of all available means of transportation in the nation—including rail, air, water, and surface—Amazon will be able to reach a larger number of its millions of sellers and guarantee quicker, more affordable, sustainable, and more dependable delivery of customer packages. Amazon will gain from this agreement by having to pay less for shipping, but it will also provide other e-commerce businesses additional opportunities to take advantage of India's vast network of interior waterways.

The Maritime India Vision 2030, which was introduced during the Maritime India Summit 2021, states that the Ministry aims to increase inland water transport volumes by more than 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2030 and to reach a target of more than 500 MMT by 2047, as per the Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, launched by the Prime Minister of India during the Global Maritime India Summit 2023 on October 17, 2023, at Mumbai. As of 2023, the Inland Waterways handled 126 MMT of cargo.

The plan also includes expanding the number of operational waterways to 23 by 2030; currently, there are 24 operational waterways, and the Vision Document states that this number will rise to more than 50 by 2047.

It is expected that this manner would become routine with shipments via the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) mode from other e-commerce platforms as well. Working together, IWAI and Amazon are poised to explore and use cutting-edge solutions, meeting the changing demands of the e-commerce sector and enhancing the sustainability and resilience of the logistics ecosystem.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.