Inland Water Transport ( IWT ) has played an important role in Indian transport since ancient times. But due to the expansion of road and rail transport, the importance of this mode has declined considerably. The potential of IWT to encourage and support economic and social development is huge, more so in a developing nation where resources are scarce.
India has inland waterways with a navigable length of 14,500 km, but of this only 5,700 km is being used for navigation by mechanized vessels. IWT, accounts for less than a 1% share of goods transported within India . The Government aims to develop IWT as a complementary service in a multi-modal transport network.