• India
  • Apr 03

Explainer - Major Ports in India

• Paradip Port in Odisha has emerged as India’s largest major port in terms of cargo volumes by clocking 145.38 million tonne cargo throughput in the  last financial year.

• For the first time in the 56-year history of operation, Paradip Port has surpassed previous records set by Deendayal Port in Gujarat.

• Deendayal Port Authority has been holding the pole position in cargo handling among the 12 Major Ports for the last 16 years.

• During FY24, Paradip Port achieved the highest-ever coastal shipping traffic of 59.19 million metric tonnes, with a growth of 0.76 million metric tonnes — 1.30 per cent over the previous year. 

• The thermal coal shipping has reached 43.97 million metric tonnes, 4.02 per cent over the previous year’s cargo handling. 

• The growth trajectory of Paradip Port was driven by an improved system of operation at a mechanised coal hand plant to reduce idle time between rake unloading, resulting in the highest handling of thermal coal, 27.12 million tonnes.

• The berth productivity achieved by Paradip Port is the highest among all the ports of the country. 

• During the financial year, the port handled 2,710 ships, registering an increase of 13.82 per cent.

• The operating revenue has crossed Rs 2,300 crore in FY24 against Rs 2,074 crore in comparison to the previous fiscal, resulting in an increase of 14.30 per cent.

• Paradip Port, with 289 million tonnes capacity, is poised to cross the 300 million tonnes capacity mark in another three years with the commissioning of the Western Dock project. 

Major Ports in India

• Maritime transport is a critical infrastructure for the social and economic development of a country.

• India is the 16th largest maritime country in the world, with a coastline of about 7,517 km. 

• Around 95 per cent of India’s trading by volume and 70 per cent by value is done through maritime transport. 

• Ports provide an interface between ocean transport and land-based transport. 

• There are 12 Major Ports wholly owned by the central government and governed by provisions of Major Port Authority Act, 2021. 

• Out of the 12 Major Ports, six are located on the East Coast and six on the West Coast.

• Private sector participation has been allowed in these Major Ports on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis for projects/berths/terminals through concession agreement for a fixed period by way of bidding process on revenue share/royalty payment by the concessionaire. 

• After the concession period gets over the port asset is handed over to the port authority. 

• In case of Major Ports, out of 275 berths, 80 berths have been given on PPP mode. 

• There are 213 non-major ports managed by and under the control of respective State Maritime Boards/state governments. 

• The State Maritime Boards/state governments enter into a concession agreement with the private operator to develop and operate the port in Public Private Partnership (PPP). 

Major Ports of India

1) Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata

The Kolkata Port is the first major port as well as the only riverine port of the country. It was established in 1870. It was renamed as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in 2020. It has a vast hinterland comprising the entire Eastern India including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, North East states and the two landlocked neighbouring countries namely, Nepal and Bhutan. The port has twin dock systems — Kolkata Dock System (KDS) on the eastern bank and Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) on the western bank of river Hooghly.

2) Paradip Port, Odisha

Paradip Port is situated 210 nautical miles south of Kolkata and 260 nautical miles north of Visakhapatnam. The government of India took over the management of the port from the state government on June 1, 1965. It is situated at the confluence of river Mahanadi and Bay of Bengal.

3) Visakhapatnam Port, Andhra Pradesh

Port of Visakhapatnam, a natural harbour, is located on the East Coast. It was opened to commercial shipping on October 7, 1933. The port has acquired the unique distinction as the lone Indian Port to have three International accreditations — ISO14001 : 1996 for Environment Management System, OHSAS : 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment System) and ISO 9001 : 2000 for Quality Management System.

4) Kamarajar Port, Tamil Nadu

The Ennore Port Limited was re-named as Kamarajar Port Limited in the honour of K. Kamarajar, eminent freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. It was commissioned in 2001 primarily as a Coal Port dedicated to handling Thermal Coal requirements of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). Kamarajar Port has the distinction of being the only corporate port amongst the Major Ports administered by the central government. Over the years, the port has developed as a multi cargo port and now has created facilities for handling liquid bulk, iron ore, automobiles and general cargo.

5) Chennai Port

Chennai Port was established in 1875. It is an all weather artificial harbour with one Outer Harbour and one Inner Harbour with a wet Dock and a Boat Basin with round the clock navigation facilities.

6) Tuticorin Port, Tamil Nadu

The Tuticorin Port Trust was renamed as V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust in 2011. V.O. Chidambaranar Port is located strategically close to the East-West International sea routes on the South Eastern coast of India. The Port is well sheltered from the fury of storms and cyclonic winds and is operational round-the-clock all through the year.

7) Cochin Port, Kerala

The modern Port of Cochin was developed during the period 1920-1940 due to the untiring efforts of Sir Robert Bristow. The port of Cochin is located on the Willington Island on the South-West coast of India. The port is a natural gateway to the vast industrial and agricultural produce markets of South-West India. The hinterland of the port includes Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

8) New Mangalore Port, Karnataka

New Mangalore Port was declared as a Major Port on May 4, 1974 and was formally inaugurated on January 11, 1975.

9) Mormugao Port, Goa

Mormugao Port, commissioned in 1885 is one of the oldest ports on the west coast of India in the state of Goa. It has modern infrastructure capable of handling a wide variety of cargo. It is a natural harbour protected by a breakwater and also by a mole. With its location at the mouth of the Zuari River, it is a crucial component in the flourishing export industry of the state of Goa. It became one amongst the major ports of the country in 1964. 

10) Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Maharashtra

Jawaharlal Nehru Port was commissioned on May 26, 1989. It was earlier known as Nhava Sheva Port Trust. It is one of the premier container-handling ports in India. Currently, JNPA operates five container terminals — NSFT, NSICT, NSIGT, BMCT and APMT. The Port also has a Shallow Water Berth for general cargo and another Liquid Cargo Terminal which is managed by the BPCL-IOCL consortium and the newly constructed coastal berth.Nestled across 277 hectares of land, JNPA also operates a meticulously designed multi-product SEZ, with state-of-the-art infrastructure, to boost export-oriented industries in India.

11) Mumbai Port

Mumbai Port is the second oldest Major Port in India after Kolkata. The port has long been the principal gateway of India. Strategic location is one factor in its special favour. It lies midway along the West Coast of India and is gifted with a natural deepwater harbour of 400 sq km protected by mainland Konkan on its east and island of Mumbai on its west.

12) Deendayal Port, Gujarat

Deendayal Port (erstwhile Kandla Port) was established in the year 1950 as a central government project and the Union government took over Kandla for its development as a Major Port. The Kandla Port was renamed as Deendayal Port in September, 2017. The port is located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat.

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