IWAI strengthens operations at Pandu and Dhubri Ports; aims at export of 3 million MT from Assam

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the nodal agency of inland waterways in India under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Government of India, strengthened its operations and management (O&M) function at its Pandu and Dhubri ports
IWAI strengthens operations at Pandu and Dhubri Ports; aims at export of 3 million MT from Assam

 STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the nodal agency of inland waterways in India under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Government of India, strengthened its operations and management (O&M) function at its Pandu and Dhubri ports with an aim to boost cargo exports from Assam and the Northeast to Bangladesh and South Asia. The model is aimed at improving the cargo movement of the existing 0.5 million MT to increase it to 3 million MT of exports from Assam and the Northeast. This new agreement is also likely to generate potential employment of at least 73,000 man-days per year during the tenure of the agreement.

This public-private partnership (PPP) model will bring efficiency and perseverance from the private O&M contractor to bring in cargo for export to both ports, while the IWAI will provide the necessary guidance for smooth movement towards attaining its goal of 3 million MT of cargo from Dhubri and Pandu ports within the first two years from the existing movement of 0.5 million MT of cargo. The operation and management of the Pandu and Dhubri terminals, both under the absolute control of IWAI, the Government of India, through a private operator is being done to increase the efficiency of the terminals and cargo movement on National Waterway-2 and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes. This model has proven efficient in other ports like the GR Jetty at Kolkata and Haldia Terminal in improving the performance of the ports and their viability for unlocking trade potential in the region.

According to, A Selvakumar, Regional Director (Pandu), Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), said, “Let me first clarify that neither Pandu nor Dhubri ports were privatised. We have only engaged a specialist contractor who will be operating and managing the cargo from both ports. The contractor was selected through due process of law on a competitive national bidding basis. Also, before tendering these terminals for O&M, a detailed study was carried out to determine the most suitable and appropriate transaction model. A number of discussions were held with the stakeholders and local operators at Pandu and Dhubri, as well as other places. Based on the outcome of the discussions with the stakeholders and private operators, the process of giving out the terminal on an operation and management basis was initiated.”

The PPP model will bring in global best practices, which are going to unlock huge potential for trade enhancement in both Pandu and Dhubri ports. The various charges for loading and unloading cargo were also decided with due consultation with the stakeholders, and the rates were fixed by IWAI. These rates include advanced mechanical handling equipment to increase the efficiency of the loading and unloading of cargo at terminals. The present system will usher in a more transparent and professional logistics system. It is to be noted that if the MCRCV is not met by the operator, then a financial penalty will be imposed along with a reduction in the contract period.

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