The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal attended the historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to use National Waterways-2 (Brahmaputra) and Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) for export of petroleum products to Bangladesh and other south east Asian countries here today.
The MoU is aimed at powering PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan to boost India’s Act East Policy. NRL will export around 10,000 MT of Petroleum & Petrochemical products per month from IWAI Jogighopa Multi Modal terminal. NRL to set up POL Oil Terminal at Jogighopa Logistics Park with rail connectivity. This MoU is aimed at fulfilling the ‘Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast’ by enabling inland waterways transportation via NW2 and IBPR, unveiling a new chapter of EXIM trade for the Northeast region.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal said, “It is watershed moment for inland waterways for promotion of trade in the Northeast India region. The MoU is aimed at powering the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan to bring in transformative change in the cargo movement for the region. Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, the visionary Act East policy is empowering the Northeast India towards unlocking the full potential of Hydrocarbon vision 2030. Modi ji has realised that the Northeast India has the potential to become the engine of India’s growth story. Our rich inter web of our waterbodies and rich potential of hydrocarbon must be explored in the best possible manner to power the Northeast region towards realisation of this vision of PM Shri Narendra Modi ji.”
The MoU was signed by A Selva Kumar, Director, IWAI and Subrata Das, Chief General Manager (Marketing), NRL. Under this MoU, the IWAI to provide its terminal for cargo movement, providing technical support, land to lay down petroleum pipeline, bunkering facilities to be operated at various places en-route IBPR, provide assistance through its vessels, technical assistance in making available vessels like Tugs, Work Boards, Survey vessels and other vessels as and when required. NRL will provide 40 acres of land with a provision of getting connected to nearest Railway station at Jogighopa; erect the loading and unloading facility; as well as realisation of a vision to transport 10,000 MT of Petroleum & petrochemicals products per month through NW – 2 and IBPR from IWAI jetty at the Jogighopa MMT Park.
Speaking further, Sarbananda Sonowal said, “NRL is in the process of executing the Numaligarh Refinery Expansion Project (NREP), a refinery expansion cum modernisation project with a capex of ₹28,026 Cr. As part of the project, NRL shall transport over 16 number of Over Dimension Consignment/Overweight Consignment (ODC/OWC). Already five ODC packages have been transported successfully from major industrial hubs in western India to NRL project site via the Haldia Port and through the IBPR and NW2. The weight of cargo transported till now amount to approximately 4,500 Metric Tonnes and if it was transported via roadways would have required about 300 trucks.”Highlighting further on the role of inland waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal said, “In line with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s “Act East Policy”, the IWAI and Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has been making transformational changes in the Waterways sector in India over the last 9 years. These measures have led to exceptionally remarkable changes. I am happy to let you know that cargo handled on National Waterways during 2013-14 was a mere 6.89 MMT whereas the cargo handled in 2022-23 rose to 126.15 MMT, clocking an exceptionally rate of1734% growth under the dynamic leadership of PM Narendra Modi ji. National Waterways for Cruise Tourism rose from only 3 in 2013-14 to 10 in 2022-23 marking an increase of over 233%. The investment in waterways has gone up to ₹544.31 crores in 2022-23, registering a record growth of 198% in last nine years. In the Northeast, 20 National Waterways and various projects of more than ₹800 crores are being implemented for development of these National Waterways in the region. Permanent terminals have been developed at Pandu and Dhubri. During last two years, Dhubri terminal has been extensively used and 385 cargo vessels moved from Dhubri to Bangladesh. Today, the rejuvenated waterways of the region is bringing in transformative transportation solutions powering the growth engine of India – the Northeast. With Modi ji’s encouraging leadership, this growth story remains robust as the powerful implementation of Act East Policy took flight to reach new zenith of growth and development for the Northeast region.”
The ceremony was also attended by Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Labour & Employment, Rameshwar Teli; Minister of Transport, Excise & Fisheries, Assam, Parimal Suklabaidya; Minister of Industries & Commerce and Public Enterprises and Cultural Affairs, Assam, Bimal Borah; Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Chairman, IWAI; Dr Ranjit Rath, Chairman, NRL and CMD, OIL; Bhaskar Jyoti Phukan, Managing Director, NRL ; Mayor of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Mrigen Sarania among other senior officials of IWAI and NRL.
NRL is currently implementing a project of its refinery from 3.0 to 9.0 MMTPA at an approved cost of more than ₹28,000 crores which is scheduled for completion by early 2025. NRL has also initiated the process of implementing a project for setting up a petrochemical plant at a cost of ₹7,231 crores. NRL envisages to export 200 TMT of products per annum to Bangladesh through IWAI jetty in Jogighopa comprising diesel, petrol, solvent & polypropylene after commissioning of the expanded refinery and petrochemicals plant.
IWAI is currently working on the projects like alternative road to pandu port (NW2), Ship Repair facilities at Pandu (NW 2), construction of IWT terminal at Jogighopa (NW 2), construction of IWT terminal at Bogibeel (NW 2), construction of boundary wall at IWT terminal, Jogighopa; construction, supply & installation of 2 nos of floating jetties at Bogibeel & Guijaan (on NW 2); construction of 7 nos. of floating jetties at Jogighopa, Pandu, Biswanath Ghat, Sadiya, Hatsingmari, Oiramghat and Neamati (on NW 2), construction of IWT terminal at Sonamura on Protocol route-10 and renovation of terminal at Badarpur and Karimganj (NW 16). The Maritime Skill Development Centre for Northeast is already functional where regular training programmes are conducted to enable human resources in acquiring skillsets to become adept for maritime industry.
Earlier, NRL and IWAI had signed an MoU on 26 August, 2021 for transporting ODC and OWC through Maritime route utilising the National Waterways. The first such consignment was received at a jetty near Numaligarh in June this year.