In a first for Patna, Inland Waterways Authority of India vessel MV RN Tagore that sailed from Kolkata on December 6 with 16 containers of PepsiCo, Emami Agrotech cargo through river Ganga (National Waterway1) reached Patna’s Gaighat terminal on Friday late evening.This is a new landmark for Patna in India’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector. The 16 TEUs of container cargo were equivalent to 16 truckloads and belonged to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech.Officials said the 815 km long voyage marks a momentous moment with opening up of Kolkata-Patna as a new origin-destination pair on inland waterways.Earlier, on November 12, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received the country’s first IWT containerised cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata.Officials said plans are at an advanced stage to operationalise Patna-Varanasi sector of NW-1 for container cargo movement. “Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints,” said an official, on the conditions of anonymity. He said the Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5,369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.“The movement will give a fillip to the region’s growth and employment. According to the World Bank economic analysis, of the 1.5 lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities to be created due to interventions under JMVP, 50,000 will be in Bihar alone,” the official said.He added, Patna and upcoming IWAI terminal at Kalughat, will emerge as new hub for trade up to Nepal with river Gandak announced as National Waterway 37.