The IIR with the World Bank in West Bengal

The IIR is a key partner in the World Bank’s project on the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) integration into the cold chain in West Bengal 

The IIR with the World Bank in West Bengal Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is one of the most inhabited cities in the world (~14.85 million in 2020). The KMA (Kolkata Metropolitan Area) population is expected to increase by 18.5% in the next decade [1]. KMA is designated as the trade and commerce hub of West Bengal, which is India’s 4th largest economy, catering 300 million consumers thanks to its strategic geographical location and vicinity to landlocked countries [2]. The World Bank (WB) estimates a daily number of 30,000 commuting within Kolkata, which has undoubtedly contributed to elevating transport-related emissions to 18% of the city’s total CO2 emissions [3]. In this context, the WB is committed, among other actions, to support the government of West Bengal via the WBIWTLSDP [4] to implement Inland Waterways Transport (IWT), enhance the accessibility through KMA ingress egress points and thus facilitate the movement of both passengers and freight across the Hooghly River. According to the first studies carried out in the framework of the WBIWTLSDP, IWT has the potential to integrate the multi-modal cold chain network as it has an environmental impact seven times lower than roadways.  


Within the scope of expanding the spectrum of its activities, the IIR has recently been engaged jointly with KPMG India to support the actions of WBIWTLSDP through consulting services in conducting a feasibility study for the integration of IWT into the local cold chain of KMA. As a first step, the study aims to forecast the cooling demand for both agricultural and marine resources and to investigate the potential role of IWT integration in the agricultural, fish and marine cold chain. IIR experts will also address and identify the challenges and opportunities that yield a sustainable and efficient integration of IWT in/around the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Once the “as-is” situation is identified, IIR and KPMG India will proceed with the development of a pilot model that could successfully integrate IWT in the West Bengal cold chain, in line with local requirements. Both partners will also perform studies to increase stakeholders awareness and attractiveness of sustainable cooling options and climate friendly refrigeration technologies, as well as to identify relevant investment opportunities. The IWT project assignments also comprise the extensive analysis of the existing agriculture and fisheries cold chain (CC) and transportation network in the KMA, to identify the current gaps in the cold chain and present a baseline for the actual cold chain needs. The project will then establish short-term (2026) and long-term (2035) market forecasts based on two forecast scenarios (Business As Usual), considering current technologies and measures, and the desired state scenario which assumes innovative and energy efficient actions, to predict the current GHG emissions from HFCs, energy use and waste related to the transport of temperature sensitive goods, as well as the economic losses related to the use of non-efficient cooling technologies or flaws within the current CC. The consultancy team will develop a pilot model for IWT integration in the agricultural and fisheries cold chain, which will promote the deployment of climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling technologies, contribute to the phasing down of HFCs and increase cost effectiveness and reliability of cold chains to support the integration of IWT in a multimodal cold chain network through the shift of temperature sensitive cargo flows to inland waterways in KMA. Finally, the project outcomes will draw policy notes and recommendations for decision makers to promote investment actions in the logistics sector and HFC phase-down in the agricultural and fisheries cold chain sector in KMA.


The IIR continuously supports sustainable cooling solutions. We are committed, together with our extensive network of experts, to providing services and advice that would promote the deployment of green cooling technologies worldwide.  If your organisation is willing to undertake similar actions or investments in this field, please do not hesitate to contact our head of projects Dr-Eng. Yosr Allouche ( 


[1] The world population review 

[2] Logistics Park Development and Promotion Policy of West Bengal, Government of West Bengal 

[3] Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 

[4] WBIWTLSDP, P166020: The World Bank Project: West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project.


Written by: Dr-Eng. Yosr Allouche (IIR head of projects)