water transport (IWT) is an integral component of the overall transport
system of the region and one of the most advantageous transport modes.
It has the least impact on the environment, the lowest cost for domestic
and international transport, enormous capacity reserves and the least
energy consumption. IWT plays an important role in providing effective
services for the movement of cargo and passengers on rivers, lakes and
canals of the Asian and Pacific region. The region has at least 280,000
kilometres of navigable waterways and more than 340,000 large vessels
and millions of country boats operate on those waterways, carrying more
than 1 billion tons of cargo and half a billion passengers each year.
In some countries, inland vessels carry more than 30 per cent of total
freight traffic. In many riparian areas the percentage reaches up to 50
so, the Asian and Pacific region has further tremendous capacity reserve
potential for further development of IWT. In view of the importance of
IWT in the region, the Commission adopted Resolution 55/1 on Sustainable
Development of Inland Water Transport in the Asia and Pacific Region in
mandated by the Resolution 55/1 and in response to the outcomes of the
3rd World Water Forum, held at Kyoto, Japan on 16-23 March 2003, UNESCAP
organized an Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Networking of IWT and Dredging
Institutions at Bangkok on 29 - 30 July 2003. The Meeting recommended
that a task force be formed to facilitate arrangements for a regional
IWT network. On 18 August 2003, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport of Japan opened a website for the Regional IWT Network.
joint national and international efforts in the region, IWT will gradually
be integrated within overall transport networks and intermodal transport
systems in particular.