2nd Inland Waterways Summit

Event Name: 2nd Inland Waterways Summit Event Date: 29th Mar, 2023
Organizer: PHDCCI, Delhi Event Timings: 11:00 AM Onwards
Number of Participants: 37 PGDM Students Venue: Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi
Chief Guest : Sh. Sarbananda Sonowal, IAS, Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India MOC : Mr. Mohit Luthra, ASG, PHDCCI


To provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss and identify strategies to harness the potential of inland waterways as a key driver for promoting growth, trade, and prosperity. The summit was aimed to bring together policymakers, industry leaders, experts, and investors to deliberate on the challenges and opportunities in developing and leveraging inland waterways infrastructure and services

Detailed Report:

On 29th Mar, 2023, PHDCCI, Delhi organized the 2nd Inland Waterways Summit. The theme of the summit was “Tapping into the power of Inland Waterways: Promoting Growth, Trade and Prosperity”. The summit was held at the hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi where eminent government officials and corporate personalities were gathered to discuss the topic including the growth Indian waterways have gone through in recent years, challenges faced by the stakeholders, and potential opportunities lying ahead for aspiring entrepreneurs. The whole summit was divided into four major parts/sessions. They were moderation & address session, Keynote address, technical session 1, and technical session 2.

Moderation & Address Session: In the first part of the summit Mr. Mohit Luthra, Sh. Sandeep Wadhwa, Sh. Ashok Gupta, Shri Saket Dalmia, Sh. Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, Sh. Sarbananda Sonowal, and Sh. Suarabh Sayal addressed the topic and shared their viewpoints on the topic.

Key Takeaways-

  • Waterways come with various advantages over roadways and railways which make it attractive to the business owners and traders such as cost effectiveness, connecting remote areas, reducing carbon emission, etc.
  • On the other hand, it also comes with certain challenges such as lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of human resources, and lack of technological enhancement.
  • Inland waterways also aims to reduce the logistics cost which currently contributes around 14% of the total GDP whereas globally it is only 8-9%. ∙ In order to run the waterways, there should only be a minimum 2.5 meters of depth water everywhere in the river and a ship of capacity of 2000 metric ton can easily carry products equivalent to 100 trucks.
  • One of the rhymes that was shared by Sh. Sarbananda Sonowal reads-
    “Water is wisdom. Water is weather.
    Water is wealth.
    Water is the world.”
  • There are a total of 111 national waterways currently in the country. There are a total 23 Cargo now which was earlier only 3.
  • There are a total three projects under construction which are Brahmani Mahanadi, 4 river systems of Maharashtra, and Narmada & Tapi. ∙ There’s a symbiotic relationship between postal shipping, port, cargo, etc. ∙ Inland waterways also aims to establish regional connectivity not only within the countries but also with the other countries. They will be working on approx. 298 projects in the upcoming future.

Technical Session 1: Inland Waterways Positive Impact on the Economy Key Takeaways:

  • GST, custom duties, lack of single window approach are some of the major hindrances in the waterways.
  • Inland waterways play a crucial role in promoting economic growth and trade by providing a cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation for goods and passengers.
  • The development of such infrastructure can stimulate job creation, boost regional economies, and enhance international competitiveness by reducing logistics costs, increasing access to markets, and improving supply chain efficiency.
  • Inland waterways also provide opportunities for developing tourism, recreational activities, and ecosystem services, such as flood control, water quality improvement, and biodiversity conservation, which can generate additional economic benefits.
  • Governments, private sector actors, and civil society organizations need to collaborate closely to address the challenges in developing and managing inland waterways sustainably, including the need for investment in infrastructure, regulatory reform, capacity building, and stakeholder engagement.
  • Innovative financing mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships, green bonds, and impact investing, can play a critical role in mobilizing resources and promoting sustainable development of inland waterways.
  • Finally, a long-term and integrated approach to planning, management, and governance of inland waterways is necessary to ensure their sustainable use and contribution to economic growth and social well-being.

Technical Session 2: International Cooperation and Partnerships in Inland Waterways

Key Takeaways:

  • Bangladesh is 2nd in terms of waterways trade with India in the whole world and 1st in South Asia.
  • There’s a norm that the landlocked countries should be provided with at least one port facility sharing with neighboring countries.
  • India and Bangladesh are heavily investing in building tunnels and ships.


In conclusion, the summit was fruitful to all the participants including students who were present there from Lloyd Business School. It was an enriching experience to network with the government officials, and corporate eminent personalities. Students also got the opportunity to learn about the alternative way of transportation, opportunities and challenges associated with it.