The INR 170-crore multi-modal terminal at Varanasi is set to emerge as a major logistics gateway connecting north India to the eastern and north-eastern states, extending up to Bangladesh, as described by the Shipping Ministry in a report. The ongoing construction of the Varanasi terminal that will have waterway, rail and road connectivity is part of the government‘s INR 5,369 crore Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).
“Government is working hard to bring down the huge logistics costs in the country and the project is part of that initiative,” said Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The terminal will prove beneficial to correct India‘s transport modal mix that imposes huge logistics costs on the economy, he said.
At 15 per cent of GDP, the logistics costs in India are about twice that of in the US, as per the Ministry officials.
The work on the upcoming terminal at Varanasi – which is a part of JMVP, implemented by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), under the Ministry of Shipping was awarded to AFCONS Infrastructure in May last year.
“Multimodal hub with rail, road and waterways connectivity will take the state to growth trajectory,” Gadkari had said, plus the phase 1 of the multi-modal terminal would be ready early next year.
After completion the cargo that will be handled includes stone chips, cement, food grains, fertilizers, sugar, etc.
It will have facilities such as berthing space for two vessels simultaneously, storage area, transit shed, and parking areas, among others.
The Varanasi terminal with 0.54 million tons per annum of cargo handling capacity in Phase 1, will complement the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) project, enabling movement of cargo from Ludhiana in Punjab to Haldia in West Bengal and further east, said an official at the Ministry.