The present IWT's forerunner was set up in 1865. At that time the organization functioned as a private enterprise under the name of Irrawaddy Flotilla Company Limited (IFCL). The IFCL was nationalized on 1st June 1948 after gaining Independence from the British Colonial Rule. Under the plan to provide new administrative order, " Inland Water Transport Board" was renamed as " Inland Water Transport Corporation" in 1972 . It has been changed to the present name of "Inland Water Transport" with effect from 1st April 1989.
Currently, IWT has a fleet of 265 vessels comprising passenger cum cargo vessels, powered barges, pusher tugs, dumb barges, station pontoons and etc;. IWT is transporting about of 15.06 million passengers and 2.07 million tons of cargo annually providing the cheapest means of transport in Myanmar. Even though other modes of transport in Myanmar have been improved rapidly,IWT is playing an important and essential role of transport due to its natural navigable waterways of rivers in Myanmar.