The Indian subcontinent has had fame in the world map, in terms of trade since the ancient times. It was through the water route that various goods were imported and exported by the erstwhile kings and the emperors in the older days. Britishers, Portuguese, and many voyagers came into India, partly because they found the water routes to be easy roads to the rich country of India.
With about 7,500 kms long stretch of coastline, in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala in the western part and Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal in the eastern side, riches in India have been contributed much by the ports. Most of the ports in India are located in these states.
There are 13 major ports in India of which the last 13th is the port of Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which was declared as a major port in the year 2010.
Jawaharlal Nehru (Maharashtra)
New Mangalore (Karnataka)
Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu)
Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Ennore (Tamil Nadu)
Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)
Kolkata-Haldia (West Bengal)
- The major ports in the eastern coast are Kolkata-Haldia (West Bengal), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Paradip (Orissa), Ennore (Tamil Nadu), Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Tuticorn (Tamil Nadu).
- The western coastline ports are the Kandla (Gujarat), Mumbai (Maharashtra), Marmugao (Goa), Mangalore (Karnataka), Cochin (Kerala) and Jawaharlal Nehru port in Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra).
There are about 185 minor ports in the country. But, there has not been a strict demarcation of the major and minor ports based on the volume of traffic, which are being served by these ports. The major ports in India are those which come under the Central Shipping Ministry, as per the federal structure of the Indian government. As per the data from the year 2007, the major ports were responsible for handling traffic of about 74% of the total cargo in the country, both exports and imports included.
- Of all the major ports, a majority of the traffic has been seen in the ports of Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata and Kandla as per the tonnage capacity.
- The highest container traffic is seen in the ports of Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru port in Navi Mumbai.
- Except the Ennore Port, the rest of the major ports are under the central government administration. One among the major ports in India is under the private-public partnership administration.
Each of these 13 ports under the major category has some specialty according to which there is also the handling of goods.
- Mumbai is the biggest one according to the area and is a natural harbour. This port handles the majority of traffic into India, mostly comprising of dry cargo and petroleum products.
- Port of Kolkata-Haldia is a riverine port, operational since 1977, with mechanised dock system with provision of deep draft vessels. The products handled are dry cargo, petroleum products and coal.
- Paradip port in the east coast has more of iron ore, coal and general cargo.
- Tuticorn is another east coast port, which came into being in 1974 and handles salt, coal, edible oils, fertilisers, food grains and petroleum products.
- The port of Visakhapatnam is the deepest landlocked port and also has an artificially created outer harbour, which deals with export of iron ore to other countries, apart from crude oils and petroleum products.
- Jawaharlal Nehru port in Navi Mumbai is the 11th formed and biggest port in west coast and equipped with latest operational techniques and advanced equipments for handling cargo.
In this manner, most of the India’s export and import is being carried out by the well planned management going on in the major ports in India. With capacity to handle about 75% of India’s trade requirement, these ports have been the gateway to India’s development and economic advancement.