Indian Transport & Logistics

Amazon to use rivers, backwaters to transport packages

Maiden ship with e-commerce cargo to be flagged off from Patna to Kolkata soon

Amazon to use rivers, backwaters to transport packages
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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Amazon Seller Services for promoting cargo movement and transportation of customer shipments & products via inland waterways using river Ganga (National Waterway 1).

The collaboration between IWAI and Amazon marks a significant stride in advancing the transportation of e-commerce cargo along inland waterways, says a release from the Ministry of Ports.

"This partnership seeks to harness the efficiency and sustainability of water transport to optimise logistics, diminish environmental footprints, and promote economic development. According to a World Bank Report, rail and road transport consume 18.5 percent and 91.6 percent more fuel than water transport, making it the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation."

Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways says: "This marks another important leaf in the growth story of India’s waterways. Under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, the waterways have always been given special attention to enable it to become a wider and popular form of transportation. The Government is working tirelessly towards realisation of this vision of Modi ji to enable the waterways to become the rejuvenated conduit of growth as India moves ahead to become an Atmanirbhar Bharat. This partnership would be an important step towards enhancing the movement of e-commerce cargo through our inland waterways.

"The aim of this partnership is to leverage the efficiency and sustainability of water transport to streamline logistics, reduce environmental impact and foster economic growth. With the beginning of this service, the artisans, the entrepreneurs and the traders of India’s hinterland will find an opportunity to sell their products in the wider market, both nationally and internationally, reasonably, easily at an affordable cost via an efficient mode of transportation. The maiden ship with e-commerce cargo will be flagged off from Patna to Kolkata soon.”

Chetan Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Public Policy, Amazon writes in his LinkedIn post: "India's extensive 14,500 km navigable waterway network, including rivers, canals, and more, moves around 55 million tonnes of cargo annually using the eco-friendly inland water transport. Teaming up with IWAI, Amazon India aims to streamline cargo movement and create an e-commerce-focused ecosystem leveraging these waterways."

As per Maritime India Vision 2030, the ministry aims to increase inland water transport volumes to more than 200 million tonnes by 2030 and more than 500 million tonnes by 2047, the release added.

Unlocking the potential of inland waterways
The partnership reinforces Amazon India’s commitment to continue building capacity for meeting the increasing customer demand and collaborating with government authorities to explore mutually beneficial projects in e-commerce. "In the last few years, Amazon took several steps to build its fulfilment, transportation, and logistics infrastructure in India. In January, Amazon launched Amazon Air in India, making it the first e-commerce company in the country to have a dedicated air cargo network."

“This MoU between Amazon India and IWAI is poised to develop a transformative offering that will open up new possibilities for all e-commerce companies to leverage the country’s extensive inland waterways,” says Abhinav Singh, Vice President, Operations, Amazon India. “We remain committed to our global mission to transform the future of logistics and seek to harness the potential of the country's rivers, canals, and other water bodies to enhance logistics and transportation efficiency for the Indian e-commerce industry at large."

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