Major Sea Ports in India

  • India has 13 major seaports (12 Government-owned and one private) and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports that handle a huge volume of traffic. Ports play a very central role in the development of a nation. Cost, capacity, and easiness of transportation via ports are most effective compared to other modes available. 
  • About 95 percent by volume and 70 percent by value of India’s total international trade are carried on through maritime transportation.
  • All ports in India are situated in the 9 coastal states of India namely Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. India’s extended coastline forms one of the major portions of land that juts out into a water body. Thirteen major ports in the country handle a lot of volume of container and cargo traffic.
  • On the west coast, there are the ports of Mumbai, Kandla, Mangalore, JNPT, Vadhavan, Mormugao, and Cochin.
  • The ones on the east coast are the ports at Chennai, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, and Ennore. The last one, Ennore is a registered public company with the government owning a 68% stake. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there is Port Blair.
  • Mumbai is the largest natural port in India.
  • As you know, Indian government has a federal structure, and according to its constitution, maritime transport is to be administered by both the Central and the State governments. While the central government’s shipping ministry administers the major ports, the minor and intermediate ports are administered by the relevant departments or ministries in the nine coastal states – Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

List of Important Ports in India

The list of important major ports in India is given below:

Eastern CoastTamil NaduChennai
Western CoastKeralaKochi (Cochin)
Eastern CoastTamil NaduEnnore
Eastern CoastWest BengalKolkata (Haldia)
Western CoastGujaratKandla
Western CoastKarnatakaMangalore
Western CoastGoaMormugao
Western CoastMaharashtraMumbai Port Trust
Western CoastMaharashtraJawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) also known as Nhava Sheva, Navi Mumbai
Western Coast Maharashtra Vadhavan Port
Eastern CoastOdishaParadip
Eastern CoastTamil NaduTuticorin
Eastern CoastAndhra PradeshVisakhapatnam
Major Sea Ports in India UPSC
map of india showing the state having the maximum number of major ports
1. Chennai Port
  • Chennai Port, formerly known as Madras Port, is the second-largest container port of India, behind Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva (JNPT). The port is the largest one in the Bay of Bengal.
  •  It is an artificial and all-weather port with wet docks.
  • It is due to the existence of the port that the city of Chennai eventually became known as the Gateway of South India.
2. Kochi (Cochin) Port
  • Cochin Port or Kochi Port is a major port on the Arabian Sea – Laccadive Sea – Indian Ocean sea-route in the city of Kochi and is one of the largest ports in India. It is also the first transshipment terminal in India.
  • The port lies on two islands in the Lake of KochiWillingdon Island and Vallarpadam, towards the Fort Kochi river mouth opening onto the Laccadive Sea.
  • Kochi Port in Kerela is the example of Tidal port .
  • The port is generally called as the natural gateway for the industrial and agricultural produce markets of South-West India.
  • Exports of spices, tea, and coffee.
  • It is one of the centers for shipbuilding.
3. Ennore Port (Kamarajar Port Ltd.)
  • It is the 12th major port of India and the first port in India which is a public company.
  • It is located on the Coromandel Coast about 24 km north of the Chennai Port.
  • Trades: Iron Ore, Coal, petroleum products and chemicals.
Ennore Port (Kamarajar Port)
4. Kolkata Port
  • Port of Kolkata or Kolkata Port, officially known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust, is the only riverine major port of India, located in the city of Kolkata, West Bengal, around 203 kilometres from the sea.
  • It is the oldest operating port in India and was constructed by the British East India Company.
  • Kolkata is a freshwater port with no variation in salinity.
  • Known as Diamond Harbour
  • Known for twin dock systems viz. Kolkata Dock on the eastern bank and Haldia Dock on the western bank of river Hooghly
  • Trade: Jute, tea, Coal, Steel
5. Kandla Port
  • Deendayal Port Trust, located in town of Kandla, is a seaport and town in Kutch district of Gujarat state in Western India, near the city of Gandhidham.
  • Located on the Gulf of Kutch, it is one of major ports on the west coast.
  • Known as Tidal Port
  • It was constructed after partition when Karachi Port was transferred to Pakistan.
  • It also relieves the congestion of Mumbai Port
  • Largest port by volume of cargo handled.
  • It has been acknowledged as Trade Free Zone.
6. Mangalore Port
  • It is deep water, all weathered port.
  • Deals with the iron ore exports
  • It is the only major port of the coastal state of Karnataka.
7. Mormugao Port
  • Situated on the estuaries of the river Juari
  • It is a natural harbour
  • It was awarded the status of a major port in the year 1963.
  • It is a leading iron ore exporting port in India.
8. Mumbai Port Trust
  • Largest Natural Port and harbor in India 
  • Earlier, this port location was used by the navies of Shivaji.
  • This port has 3 enclosed wet docks:
    • Prince’s Dock
    • Victoria Dock
    • Indira Dock
  • The busiest Port in India
  • Jawahar Dweep is an island in the harbor, for Crude and petroleum products handling.
9. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) also known as Nhava Sheva (Navi Mumbai) is the first major port of the country to become a 100% Landlord port of India having all berths being operated on the PPP model.
    • The name Nhava Sheva is given because of the names of two villages that existed in that area.
  • Largest Artificial Port and leading container port in India.
  • It was commissioned in 1989 and in three decades of its operations, JNP has transformed from a bulk- cargo terminal to become the premier container port in the country.
  • It is located on the eastern shore of Mumbai harbor off Elephanta Island and can be accessed via Thane Creek.
  • This port is the terminal point of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor of Indian Railways.
  • With its state-of-the-art facilities JNP meets all the international standards, user-friendly atmosphere, and excellent connectivity by rail and road to the hinterland.
  • It is presently handling 9000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) capacity vessels and with the up-gradation, it can handle 12200 TEUs capacity vessels.
  • Trade: Textiles, sporting goods, carpets, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, etc.
What is Landlord Port?
  • In this model, the publicly governed port authority acts as a regulatory body and as a landlord, while private companies carry out port operations—mainly cargo-handling activities.
  • Here, the port authority maintains ownership of the port while the infrastructure is leased to private firms that provide and maintain their own superstructure and install their own equipment to handle cargo.
  • In return, the landlord port gets a share of the revenue from the private entity.
Service Port Model?
  • In service ports, the port authority does the administration and operation of port activities.
  • The port operation includes providing navigational services, warehouse facilities, cranes, and skilled employees/laborers. the construction of infrastructure, superstructure, and providing employees, becomes the responsibility of the port authority.
  • Even if the port authority act in the public interest full ownership of the port remains with the state or the government.
10. Vadhavan Port
  • This will be 13th major port in India.
  • With the development of this port, India will become one of the countries in the top-10 container ports in the world.
  • A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as the lead partner, with equity participation equal to or more than 50% to implement the project.
  • The port will be developed on the landlord model.
  • Vadhavan port has been planned by the JNPT as an ‘All Weather, All Cargo’ satellite port to enhance capabilities in handling deep draft ships and larger vessels.
11. Paradip Port
  • First Major Port commissioned after Independence.
  • Located at the confluence of the Mahanadi river and the Bay of Bengal.
  • Deals with the export of iron and aluminum and Iron ore is exported to Japan in huge quantities.
12. Tuticorin Port
  • This port has been renamed as V.O.Chidambaranar Port.
  • It is an artificial port located in the Gulf of Mannar.
  • It is famous for pearl fishery in the Bay of Bengal and is thus also known as the pearl city.
  • Trade:  coal, salt, petroleum products, and fertilizers.
13. Visakhapatnam Port
  • This port is a natural harbor and also is the 2nd largest port by volume of cargo handled. 
  • Port is located midway between the Chennai Port and Kolkata Port.
  • The deepest port of India deals with the export of iron ore to Japan. Amenities for building and fixing of ships are available.
  • Trade: Iron Ore, Coal, Alumina, and oil. 
Port Blair
  • The port connected to the mainland of India through ship and flight. This port is situated in between two international shipping lines namely Saudi Arabia & US Singapore.
Major Ports in India UPSC

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Plz make a correction to the post
Port Blair is not a major port now ,in 2010 it was declared as major port but after that it was removed from major port status and now 13th major port of india is vadhavan port of maharashtra