Ports of India are very important gateway for international trade i.e. imports and exports. Maximum of the cargo that goes out of the country and that comes in the country is through these ports of India. These ports play an important role in strategic planning of imports and exports of the country. India’s international trade by sea amounts to over 90% of foreign trade that take place via 13 major and 187 minor ports of India. These ports of India are held responsible for playing a dominant role in developing the country’s trade and commerce.
India being the largest peninsular country in the world has about 7516.6 kilometers long coastline, which currently houses 13 major and 187 minor ports that contribute about 90% of the Foreign Trade. Out of these 12 are managed by Government and one by Corporate. The latest addition to the list of major ports of India is Port Blair. It was added in June 2010, making it the 13th port in the country. India is lucky to have major water bodies on its sides that is the east as well as the west side. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east.
Major Ports of India
1. Mumbai Port
Mumbai port is the biggest and busiest of all the ports of India. Mumbai Port was established as the Bombay Port Trust on June 26, 1873. Mumbai port handles 11 per cent of the total sea-borne traffic of India. It is a natural deep-water harbor in the southern portion of the Ulhas River estuary. Not many people know that the official name of Mumbai harbor is “Front Bay”. The port was the pre-eminent commercial ports of India in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is known as the gateway to India, and has been a primary factor in the emergence of Mumbai as the commercial capital of India.
2. Kandla Port
Kandla is a tidal port located on the Gulf of Kutch and is one of major ports of India on the west coast. It is one of the important ports of India in Kutch district of Gujarat state in western part. Kandla seaport is the result of partition. It was constructed in the 1950s as the chief seaport serving western India, after the partition of India from Pakistan left the port of Karachi in Pakistan.
3. Marmugao Port
Marmugao is one of the oldest Ports of India located on the west coast. The port also serves as a naval base. It is one of the premier iron ore exporting ports of India with an annual throughput of around 26.74 million tonnes of iron ore traffic. It was commissioned in the year1888 and was declared a major port in 1964. Today the quantity of iron ore exported from Marmugao port constitutes 39 per cent of the total iron ore exports of India.
4. Visakhapatnam Port
Visakhapatnam is the deepest land-locked and protected port in India. It is one of the largest Ports of India in terms of the cargo handled. Visakhapatnam port also serves as home to the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. The port construction started in the year 1927 and completed in the year 1933. the first vessel entered the port on 7 October 1933. It is one of the busiest ports of India. It is the most scenic of all the ports as it is surrounded by a hill on the south side and is often compared to the Durban port because of this similarity.
5. Chennai Port
It is one of the oldest Ports of India located in the southern part. The Chennai Port has an artificial harbor. This gateway port for all cargo has completed about 130 years of service to India’s maritime trade. Before it was made an artificial harbor, the initial piers were built in 1861 but was destroyed by 1868 and 1872 storms. Later the process of making an artificial harbor was initiated and the operation started in the year 1881.
6. Kolkata Port
Kolkata also enjoys the importance of one of the major ports of India. The Kolkata port is the only riverine port of all the ports of India and has two docks namely Kolkata dock and Haldia dock. Kolkata Dock System is situated on the left bank of the river Hooghly and has a comprehensive range of facilities to handle and transport various cargo including heavy lifts. Kolkata port has the largest dry dock of all the major ports of India.
7. Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT)
It is the fastest growing of all the ports of India. The port is located in Navi Mumbai and is managed by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and controlled by the Central Government of India. It handles 65 per cent of India’s container traffic. The port is connected pretty well with all major highways and railway stations.
8. New Mangalore Port
The New Mangalore Port, the only major port of Karnataka was inaugurated on 11th January 1975. It is the one of all the Ports of India to export Kudremukh iron-ore. The major commodities exported through the port are iron ore concentrates & pellets, iron ore fines, granite stones, containerized cargo etc. The major imports are crude and petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) products, LPG, wood pulp, timber logs, finished fertilizers, liquid ammonia, phosphoric acid, other liquid chemicals, containerized cargo, etc.
9. Tuticorin Port
Tuticorin Port was a minor port until Tuticorin minor port and the newly constructed Tuticorin major port were merged and the Tuticorin Port Trust was constituted. Then it became one of the major ports of India and started exporting a variety of cargo meant for the neighboring countries of Sri Lanka, Maldives, etc and the coastal regions of India.
10. Cochin Port
Cochin is one of the fastest growing ports of India and a popular gateway to Indian peninsula. The port is located on the south-est coast of India. It is located on an island named Willingdon Island which is an artificial Island tucked inside the backwaters of Kerala.
11. Paradip Port
The foundation stone of the Paradip Port was laid in January 1962 by then Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. Government of India declared Paradip as the eighth major port of India on April 18, 1966 making it the first major port on the east coast commissioned in independent India. It is one of the important ports of India that serve the eastern and central parts of the country.
12. Port Blair Port
It is the newest of all the ports of India. It was declared a major port in the year 2010. Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India is a very popular tourist destination famous for scuba diving and snorkeling. It serves as the main port of call for services from the mainland to the Union territory and is also the principal hub for shipping in the islands.
13. Ennore Port
Ennore is the only port in India which is a Public company rest of the ports of India are governed and managed by Government of India. It is designed as Asia’s energy port and was initially started or envisioned as a satellite port to the Chennai Port to de-congest marine traffic. However, Ennore Port has evolved into a full-fledged port with the capacity to handle a wide range of products. The port has adequate road and rail links.