Seaports are the maritime facilities where ships dock to load and discharge cargo and passengers. Seaports play an important role in the wider global economy and are also important to any manufacturer for its supply chain management system.
Ports play an important role in the marine industry. Several seaports in India are located miles inland and have direct access to the sea river and the canal. If any port is connected to the lake or a river that directly goes to the sea or an ocean, it is called an inland port. Ports are also known as harbours.
Ports can have a major environmental impact on the waterways and ecology. Ports are heavily affected by climatic changes since most ports are vulnerable to rising sea levels and coastal flooding. They help in promoting the welfare and trade of an economy.
Did You Know?
95% of trading in India is done through the seaports of the country.
List of Important Ports in India
All the seaports of India are located in 9 of the states. These states are - Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Goa, Gujarat, Odhisa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. The thirteen major ports of India host a large number of container and cargo traffic. The ports located on the western coast of India are - Kandla, Mangalore, Mumbai, Mornigao, JNPT, and Cochin.
The ports located on the Eastern Coast of India are - Tuticorin, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, and Ennore. The Ennore Port is registered as a public company with a 68% stake. Port Blair port is located in the Andaman and Nicobar. Mumbai is the largest port in India.
The 13 major ports of India are:
1. Chennai Port, Tamil Nadu
2. Kochi Port, Kerala
3. Ennore Port, Tamil Nadu
4. Kolkata Port, West Bengal
5. Kandla Port, Gujarat
6. Mangalore Port, Karnataka
7. Mumbai Port, Maharashtra
8. Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Maharashtra
9. Paradip Port, Odhisa
10. Tuticorin Port, Tamil Nadu
11. Vishakhapatnam Port, Andhra Pradesh
12. Port Blair Port, Andaman & Nicobar Port
13. Marmagao Port, Goa
Mumbai Port, Maharashtra
Mumbai Port is the largest port in India in terms of size. It is spread over an area of 46.3 hectares and has a pier length of 8000 km. This port has been in operation since 1873 and is the second oldest port in India. Mumbai port is said to have one of the best locations for an Indian seaport because of the following reasons -
1. It is situated on the midway mark of the western coastal region.
2. It is a 400 sq. km natural deep water harbour. The Konkan mainland protects it on the
eastern side, and the Mumbai island does so on the western side.
This port in Mumbai, the biggest port in India, is a 10-12 meters deep port. This helps the big ships to make their way in and out easily. There is natural protection in this port that provides shelter for round-the-year shipping.
The Mumbai port can handle all kinds of Cargo. Therefore it is also known as a multi-purpose fund. There are 32 berths in this port with a refilling facility. The port has railway connectivity to the Central Railways and Western Railways.
Mundra Port, Gujarat
Mundra port is the busiest port in India. It is known for handling 5.7 million units of Cargo in the year 2020-21. The port is operated and owned by the Adani Port and Special Economic Zones Limited – the largest private port operator and one that accounts for about 24% of the port's capacity.
Mundra port is located on the Western Coasts of India. It provides railways and roadway connectivity to the Northern hinterland while also providing connectivity to the international ports. This port in Gujarat specialises in container shipping, bulk, and oversized cargo such as minerals, fertilisers, machinery, steel, and agricultural goods. There are several berths in this port – 10 berths for dry bulk, six for containerised cargo, and three for liquid bulk.
This port also serves as the world's largest coal import terminal. It has large covered storage areas that offer complete coverage for the cargo in monsoons.
Kolkata Port, West Bengal
The Kolkata port is the only major riverine port in India. It is officially known as Shyama Prasada Mukherjee Port. The port in Kolkata is located around 203 km from sea level. The port was constructed by the British East India Company. It is a port with freshwater with no variations in the salinity of the water. There are two distinct dock systems of the port - a deep water dock at Haldia Dock Complex and a Kolkata Dock. The port is located on the banks of the Hoogly River of Kolkata. Kolkata port serves as the terminal agent for Indian Railways. The port has connectivity with Eastern Railways of India through the Majerhut railway station.
The Chennai port in Tamil Nadu is the second largest port in India. It specialises in handling general cargo, iron ores, fertilisers, and petroleum products.
The Ennore port is located in the Northern Region of Chennai.
Located in the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal, the port was constructed to reduce congestion at the Chennai port. It is the first corporate port of India.
Government initiatives for the Port Sector
1. In the union budget 2021, the Indian Government has come up with allocations for the expansion of Inland and shipping waterways.
2. The government has also developed the make in India movement. The Ministry of Port has also amended the guidelines of the Act of Right of First Refusal. The right of chartering vessels is given to the vessels built in India.
3. The government has also decided to develop the National Logistics Portal. It will help the importers, exporters, and service providers.
4. The government has also decided to develop the Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes. It will be helpful for private players.
5. The government has also passed the Major Port Authority Bill 2020. This bill will establish the board of major port authorities for all the ports.
How many Major Ports does India have?
There are 13 major seaports in India. Among these 13 major seaports, 12 are government-owned ports, and one is a private port. Apart from these, there are 187 minor ports in India.
In the year 2010, Port Blair was also declared the major port of India. But this status was revoked recently.
The Sagarmala project introduced by the Indian government helps modernise these ports. The Major ports of India handle 74% of the total Indian cargo traffic.
Which is India's deepest port?
The Krishnapatnam port, located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is the deepest port in India, with a draft of 18.5 meters. The port is operated and owned by Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited.
This port has 7.5 crore tonnes of cargo per annum. The port is connected to the Chennai- Kolkata railway line and is also connected to the National Highway 16 of India.
The seaports in India play a major role in the environment and develop the marine economy and national economy in general. Seaports in India also serve as the crossroads for export and import and transform the delivery of goods from maritime transport to the roadways, railways, and waterway transport.
India has a rich history of trading over seaports. The seaports not only serve an economic but also a social function. When it comes to carrying the load from one place to another, seaway transportation is the most effective and cheapest form of transportation compared to the other systems. Our Indian industry requires a safe and cheaper way to export goods and import raw materials. This is why the majority of industries are located close to the coastal regions and are connected to the major ports of India.