The Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) organised a hybrid meeting on the role of Inland waterways and land ports with an objective of promoting cross border trade by effective utilisation of multimodal transport systems. The meet held on August 4, 2023, in Kolkata, was addressed by Shankar Shinde, Chairman, FFFAI; Aditya Mishra, IPS, Chairman, Land Port Authority of India; Arvind Kumar, Director, Inland Waterways Authority of India; Dushyant Mulani, Chairman Elect, FFFAI. Sudip Dey, Vice Chariman, FFFAI to elaborate on the importance and recent developments on Inland Waterways and land ports in facilitating international trade, especially in the East/Northeast region of India.
Shinde commended the initiatives of the Inland Waterways Authority of India and Land Port Authority of India in facilitating international trade. He appealed to the FFFAI members as well as the freight forwarding/logistics industry fraternity to explore cost-effective transportation modes at the optimum level. He also pointed out the government’s initiatives on creating the infrastructure, connectivity, and bilateral talks to increase EXIM trade with the South Asia and ASEAN countries.
Arvind Kumar’s presentation highlighted recent developments in Inland Waterways, focusing on its economic advantages and environmental benefits. He emphasised the need to increase Inland Water Transport (IWT) share to 5 percent as per Maritime India Vision (MIV)-2030. The development work under Jal Marg Vikas Project-II (Arth Ganga) was highlighted, targeting economic growth and livelihood improvement through National Waterways No. 1 (River Ganga). Various connectivity projects, including multimodal connectivity in Assam, ease of navigation improvements, and expansion of trade to ASEAN countries were discussed.
Additionally, Aditya Mishra showcased advancements in Land Port facilities, digital initiatives, and technology implementation. The Transit Agreement between India and Bangladesh, BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement, and the importance of cross-border trade were emphasised. The event concluded with discussions on effective Inland Waterways and surface network utilisation for cross-border trade.