India relies on the sea to carry out international trade. It is surrounded by water on three sides of its 7,516.6-km long coastline: the Arabian Sea on the west side, the Indian Ocean in the South and the Bengal sea to the east. About 95% of India’s trade is conducted through the sea and accounts for 70% in value. For this reason, sea transport is very important to the economy of India. To facilitate trade, India has 12 major ports and over 200 minor ports. Here is a list of some of the busiest cargo ports in India.
Busiest Cargo Ports in India
Paradip port is the busiest cargo port in India with an annual cargo volume of 75.7 million tons. It is a deep-water port located on the east coast of India. It is an artificial port that can be used in all weather conditions. Its great depth allows it to handle large bulks of cargo amounting to 60,000 DWT. Recently, the port was expanded, and construction of oil jetty completed to handle petroleum products of up to 8 million tons in volume.
Visakhapatnam port is the second largest port in India by volume of cargo handled. The port is located on the east coast between Chennai and Kolkata ports. Visakhapatnam port is built on the Andhra Pradesh coast and is the deepest landlocked port. The main cargo handles here includes fertilizers, iron ore, manganese ore, spices, and wood. There are arrangements to have the port handle crude oil and petroleum products. Currently, the port has an annual cargo volume of 64.2 million tons.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port is the largest container port in India. It is located east of Mumbai on an island called Nhava Sheva. The port is named after the first prime minister of India. The main purpose of the construction of the port was to reduce the amount of traffic from the port of Mumbai. The port is highly mechanized and utilizes the latest technology to handle containers. It is the third busiest port in India with an annual cargo volume of 64 million tons.
The port of Bombay (Mumbai) is a deep-water cargo port that handles about 20 percent of India’s cargo. It is located on a magnificent natural harbor that is about 10-12 meters deep. Large ships can easily enter the harbor and leave. The port specializes in mineral oil from Gulf countries and dry cargo. Export items in the port include cotton, textile, manganese, tobacco, and machinery while import goods include crude oil, raw cotton, instruments, machinery, and drugs. It has an annual cargo volume of 61 million tons.
The port of Calcutta is the oldest operating port in India having been constructed during the British East India Company occupation. This riverine port is located on the bank of River Hugli and is the main gateway to the East of India. The port of Calcutta is the main port for exporting jute products, tea, steel, copper, iron ore, and leather products. It has an annual cargo volume of 50 million tons.
Importance of Ports
India ranked as the world's tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter in 2011, and in 2013 became the world's second-largest exporter of textiles. The government has invested in the development of ports and other allied infrastructure and equipment to facilitate this growth. India's 12 major ports, located along its extensive coastline, are important gateways to various regions in the country. Other notable ports include New Mangalore, Tuticorin and Johor ports.