During the year 2016, by National Waterways Act, 2016, twenty (20) waterways of NER were declared as National Waterways. These include one existing (NW2) and 19 new NWs. NW-2, i.e. River Brahmaputra between Dhubri (Bangladesh Border) and Sadiya (Assam) was declared as NW-2 in the year 1988 and several projects for developing inland water transport infrastructure namely fairway terminals and navigation aids have been completed by IWAI thereon.
Many projects are also under implementation. Of the new 19 NWs in North East India, River Barak (NW-16) is being developed and feasibility studies for the remaining 18 NWs are underway.
These NWs together provide hinterland connectivity to states of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh also and connect these States with mainland India through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route. North Eastern Waterways also hold significant importance in terms of enhanced trade & commerce across neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and ASEAN countries.