India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks. The total navigable length is 14,500 km (9,000 mi), out of which about 5,200 km (3,200 mi) of the river and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of canals can be used by mechanized crafts.
Inland waterways in India consist of the Ganges (Ganga)–Bhagirathi–Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari – Krishna rivers.
About 44 million tones of cargo is moved annually through these waterways using mechanized vessels and country boats. Cargo transportation in an organised manner is confined to a few waterways in Goa, West Bengal, Assam ,and Kerala.
Inland Water Transport (IWT) is a fuel efficient, environment friendly and cost effective mode of transport having potential to supplement the over burdened rail and congested roads.