Seaports On The Bay Of Bengal

The Port of Chittagong on the Bay of Bengal. Editorial credit: Hafiz Johari /

The Bay of Bengal, a part of the Indian Ocean, is bounded by Myanmar and an Indian archipelago to the east and India and Bangladesh to the west and north. The southern limits of this vast body of water is a line extending from Sumatra’s northwesternmost point to Sri Lanka. With an area of 2,172,000 square km, it is the world’s largest bay. Several major ports are located on the coastline of this bay. Some of these are as follows:

Port of Chittagong

The busiest seaport on the Bay of Bengal’s coastline, the Port of Chittagong, is part of the Chittagong city of Bangladesh. In 2017, the port was ranked as the 71st busiest port globally. The port is based on the banks of the Karnaphuli River. The port accounts for 90% of the export-import trade of Bangladesh and is also used by the neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and India for transshipment. The Port of Chittagong was opened in 1887 and handled an annual container volume of 2.34 million TEUs between 2015 and 2016.

Chennai Port

The largest port on the Bay of Bengal coastline, the Chennai Port, is also India’s second-biggest container port. The port is India’s third oldest major port with the operations here beginning in 1881. Initially, a major travel port of India, the Chennai port transformed into a container port post the country’s independence. The port played a vital role in triggering the rapid development of Tamil Nadu and the manufacturing boom in South India. The port is operated by the Chennai Port Trust. The harbor occupies an area of 420.0 acres. Iron ore, leather, and cotton textiles are the major exports handled by this port.

The Port of Kolkata

India’s oldest operating port, the Port of Kolkata was opened in 1870 by the British East India Company Following the abolishment of slavery, the British used the Kolkata Port to transport about half a million Indians to different countries of the world to work in sugar plantations there as indentured laborers. Following independence and the Partition of Bengal, the port lost much of its importance. However, things are changing now with the volume of throughput has started to increase steadily.

Visakhapatnam Port

This is the biggest port of Andhra Pradesh, India, and the country’s second largest port in terms of the volume of cargo handled. The port is located on India’s eastern coast. The Inner Harbor of the port was built between 1927 and 1933. Following the independence of India, the port received significant attention from the government of the country and grew rapidly. Presently, the port is subjected to a modernization program to increase its present capacity.

Port of Mongla

This port is Bangladesh’s second busiest port. It is located 62 km to the north of the country’s coastline on the Bay of Bengal and is 48 km away from the Khulna city. It is based at the confluence of two rivers, the Pasur and the Mongla. The port is used by tourist vessels transporting tourists to two nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans and the Mosque City of Bagerhat. It is also used for the export and import of goods. The port was opened in 1950.

Port of Payra

Located on the Ramnabad Channel in southern Bangladesh, this seaport was recently established in 2013. The demand for a seaport in the country’s Barisal Division led to the establishment of the port. The port will also serve Bhutan and Nepal.

Haldia Port

The port of Haldia is located at the confluence of the Hooghly and the Haldi River which ultimately drain into the Bay of Bengal. Formally, it is recognized as the Haldia Dock Complex and together with the Kolkata Dock, it forms a port. The port handles trade in petroleum, chemicals, iron ore, steel, etc.

Kakinada Port

Located about 170 km from the Visakhapatnam Port, the Kakinada Port is a large complex and a deep, all-weather port. The port handled an annual cargo tonnage of 14.50 million tons between 2016 and 2017.

Gopalpur Port

Although Gopalpur was an active port in the past, it is currently a popular beach destination on the coast of Bay of Bengal in Odisha’s Ganjam district. However, Gopalpur port will soon be revived into an all-weather port. The reconstruction process is currently under development.

Dhamra Port

The Dhamra Port, located on the banks of the Dhamra River in Odisha’s Bhadrak district, is an ancient Indian port that developed around the 15th century. Over the years, the port lost much of its significance but in 1998, an agreement to develop the port into a deep-water port was signed.


Pondicherry is the capital city of the union territory of Puducherry in India. The port at Pondicherry has been used since the ancient times and evidence indicated that it had trade connections with the Greeks and the Romans. Silk, textiles, pearls, etc., were exported from here. In the later years, however, the port lost much of its old glory and lost much of its commercial significance. However, the government of the country is currently reconstructing the port with modern facilities and amenities. As per the plans, the Pondicherry Port will be assisted by the nearby Chennai Port. The initial capacity of the port is planned to be 0.3 million ton of cargo annually. The figure is expected to expand to one million ton in the future.


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