Maruti Suzuki India Limited, leading automakers in India pays INR 70,000-75,000 per container carrying a total of 7 Alto cars by road. The company is planning to ship cars manufactured at the Gurgaon and Manesar plants to Kolkata via inland waterways with the water barge capable of carrying 30 small cars per container at a cost of INR 50,000-55,000.
Maruti Suzuki will use National Waterway-1 to transport its cars to Kolkata which will not only save on costs but time as well. A test run will be conducted in October after which the company will make further plans to commence shipment of cars to Kolkata via waterways.
National Waterway-1 is 1,680 kms in length and is aided by World Bank as a part of multi modal transportation facilities. The Inland Waterways Authority of India is also enhancing infrastructure to allow smooth movement of cargo along this stretch. Maruti Suzuki models from Gurgaon and Manesar will be transported to Varanasi after which they will be transported via waterway to Kolkata over a distance of 1,300 kms to be unloaded at Netaji Subhash docks in Kolkata.
For the initial Maruti shipment of cars , Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will deploy two self propelled barges, each to carry around 30 cars. However, this pilot project will not be able to take off immediately as IWAI barges are not designed for transportation of automobiles and hence Maruti Suzuki will have to customize special containers with higher capacity carrying facilities.