GUWAHATI: The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has partnered with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to increase export of petroleum products to Bangladesh and other Southeast Asian countries.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was inked by A Selva Kumar, Director of IWAI, and Subrata Das, Chief General Manager (Marketing) of NRL, on August 24, both the parties will collaborate and strive to harness the potential of National Waterways-2 (Brahmaputra) and the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR).
Under this agreement, IWAI commits to offer terminal access, technical support, land for pipeline installation, bunkering facilities along the IBPR route, and a fleet of specialized vessels. Conversely, NRL pledges 40 acres near the Jogighopa Railway station, complete with loading facilities, aiming to channel 10,000 MT of petroleum products monthly via the Jogighopa MMT Park through NW-2 and IBPR.
Terming the signing of the MoU as a “watershed moment” for inland waterways, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, who graced the momentous occasion, said that this collaboration aligns seamlessly with the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan, which is designed to catalyse India’s Act East Policy. “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,” he said.
Underlining NRL’s scale of operations, the former Chief Minister of Assam said that refinery is spearheading a colossal project, which would expand its capacity entailing an investment surpassing ₹28,000 crores. This project is slated for completion by early 2025.
“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,” he said.
Notable dignitaries who were also present at the do included Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Labour & Employment, Rameshwar Teli, Assam’s Minister of Transport, Excise & Fisheries, Parimal Suklabaidya, Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Chairman, IWAI and Dr Ranjit Rath, Chairman, NRL and CMD, OIL, among others.
The partnership between NRL and IWAI isn’t new. The two behemoths had previously signed an MoU on August 26, 2021, emphasising the transport of ODC and OWC through the maritime route. This recent collaboration further deepens the ties and underlines the immense potential of waterways in augmenting trade, boosting the economy, and reimagining the transportation framework of the nation.