The Steamers of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges
Side-paddle steamers enabled the exploitation of the extensive river systems exiting into the north of the Bay of Bengal. In 1833, a steamboat service was established on the Ganges. Calcutta to Allahabad, five hundred miles, took a month; comparatively swift. Coal logistics were expensive and as the railway expanded up the Ganges, so the steamer service declined. In 1864, the new river-steamer service up the Brahmaputra systems, to undeveloped Assam, brought workers and food six hundred miles upriver. This, aided by the Suez Canal opening, and compound-engines halving coal consumption, ensured the prosperity of the burgeoning tea and jute industries.