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List of the Major Ports in India, Map and Feature

List of the Major Ports in India: India, with its extensive coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, boasts a significant presence in the maritime industry. The country’s nine coastal states – Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu – house all of India’s ports. These ports play a pivotal role in facilitating the movement of containers and cargo across the country.

On the west coast, prominent ports such as Mumbai, Kandla, Mangalore, JNPT, Mormugao, and Cochin handle substantial volumes of maritime traffic. Meanwhile, on the east coast, Chennai, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, and Ennore serve as major gateways for trade and commerce. Ennore, specifically, operates as a registered public company, with the government holding a significant 68% stake. Additionally, Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands further contributes to India’s maritime infrastructure.

List of Important Ports in India

 Here’s a table summarizing the important ports in India based on the information provided:

List of Important Ports in India
Zone State Port Features
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Chennai Artificial Port, the Second busiest port
Western Coast Kerala Kochi Sited in the Vembanad Lake, exports spices and salts
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Ennore India’s First corporatized port
Eastern Coast West Bengal Kolkata India’s only major Riverine port, situated on Hugli River, known as Diamond Harbour
Western Coast Gujarat Kandla Known as Tidal Port, acknowledged as Trade Free Zone, largest port by volume of cargo handled
Western Coast Karnataka Mangalore Deals with iron ore exports
Western Coast Goa Mormugao Situated on the estuary of the river Zuari
Western Coast Maharashtra Mumbai Port Trust Largest Natural Port and harbor in India, busiest port in India
Western Coast Maharashtra Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Largest Artificial Port, Largest Container Port in India (also known as Nhava Sheva, Navi Mumbai)
Eastern Coast Odisha Paradip Natural Harbor, deals with the export of iron and aluminum
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Tuticorin A major port in south India deals with fertilizers and petrochemical products
Eastern Coast Andhra Pradesh Visakhapatnam The deepest port of India deals with the export of iron ore to Japan, amenities for building and fixing ships are available
Bay of Bengal Andaman & Nicobar Islands Port Blair Connected to the mainland of India through ship and flight, situated between two international shipping lines: Saudi Arabia & US Singapore

Major ports in India

They are classified as such and administered by the Union Shipping Ministry.

  • These ports hold significant importance in terms of trade and commerce.
  • They are crucial gateways for handling a large volume of cargo and container traffic.
  • The management and operations of major ports are overseen by respective port authorities.
  • Major ports have well-developed infrastructure, including berths, terminals, warehouses, and handling equipment.
  • They play a vital role in facilitating both domestic and international trade.
  • Major ports are strategically located along India’s extensive coastline, providing access to various regions and neighboring countries.
  • These ports contribute to the country’s economic growth and development by boosting maritime trade and generating employment opportunities.
  • Some of the major ports in India include Mumbai Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Chennai Port, Kolkata Port, Visakhapatnam Port, Paradip Port, and Cochin Port.
  • Each major port has its unique features, such as natural harbors, artificial ports, specialized cargo handling capabilities, and connectivity to major trade routes.

List of the 13 major Sea ports in India

These ports play a crucial role in facilitating India’s maritime trade and contribute significantly to the country’s economy.

  1. Kochi Port: Located in Kerala, it is one of the largest seaports on the west coast of India.
  1. Ennore Port: Situated in Tamil Nadu, it is a major port on the eastern coast of India.
  1. Haldia Port: Located in West Bengal, it is an important riverine port on the Haldia River.
  1. Mumbai Port: Also known as the Port of Mumbai, it is the largest port in India situated in Maharashtra.
  1. Jawaharlal Nehru Port: Located in Maharashtra, it is the largest container port in India.
  1. Paradip Port: Situated in Odisha, it is a major port on the east coast of India, handling a variety of cargo.
  1. Tuticorin Port: Also known as V.O. Chidambaranar Port, it is located in Tamil Nadu and is the second-largest port in the state.
  1. Visakhapatnam Port: Situated in Andhra Pradesh, it is one of the busiest ports in India, handling various types of cargo.
  1. Chennai Port: Located in Tamil Nadu, it is the third-largest port in India and handles a significant volume of cargo.
  1. Kolkata Port: Situated in West Bengal, it is the oldest operating port in India and serves as a major trade gateway for the eastern region.
  1. Kandla Port: Located in Gujarat, it is the largest port on the west coast of India and plays a vital role in India’s international trade.
  1. Mangalore Port: Situated in Karnataka, it is a major port on the Arabian Sea and handles various types of cargo.
  2. Mormugao Port: Located in Goa, it is a significant port on the west coast of India, handling both passenger and cargo traffic.

Features and Amenities Provided by Ports in India

 These features and amenities contribute to the smooth functioning of ports and enhance the overall experience for port users and visitors.

  • Loading and unloading facilities: Ports offer infrastructure and equipment to facilitate the efficient loading and unloading of cargo and passengers.
  • Warehousing facilities: Ports have special warehouses to store goods and maintain inventory levels.
  • Port reception: Ports maintain a reception area that keeps records of anticipated shipments and provides guidance on port facilities and services.
  • Fishing facilities: Fishing ports provide specific aids and facilities to support the fishing industry, such as fish handling and processing facilities.
  • Workshop: Larger and more important ports have dedicated workshops where spare parts and attachments for vessels can be procured. These workshops also provide repair and maintenance services for vessels.
  • Visitor amenities: Seaports often have amenities for visitors, including hotels, eateries, restaurants, and cafes to cater to their needs.
  • Medical services: Some ports offer medical services to cater to the health needs of visitors and port personnel.
  • Navigation aids: Ports provide navigational aids such as lighthouses, buoys, and channel markers to assist ships in safely navigating through the port area.
  • Customs and immigration services: Ports have customs and immigration facilities to facilitate the clearance of goods and passengers entering or leaving the country.
  • Security measures: Ports implement various security measures to ensure the safety and security of port facilities, including surveillance systems, access controls, and security personnel.

Government Initiatives for the port sector in India

These initiatives reflect the government’s focus on infrastructure development, promoting domestic manufacturing, enhancing logistics capabilities, and improving governance in the port sector to drive economic growth and facilitate trade.

  • Expansion of shipping and inland waterways infrastructure: The Union Budget 2021 allocated funds for the expansion of shipping and inland waterways infrastructure, focusing on improving connectivity and facilitating trade through ports.
  • Promotion of Make in India: The Ministry of Shipping amended the guidelines of Right of First Refusal (ROFR) licensing conditions to prioritize chartering of vessels that are built in India, flagged in the country, and owned by Indians. This initiative aims to promote the domestic shipbuilding industry and increase indigenous participation in the maritime sector.
  • National Logistics Portal (Marine): The government plans to develop the National Logistics Portal (Marine) to provide a platform for exporters, importers, and service providers in the maritime logistics sector. This portal will streamline logistics operations and improve efficiency in the movement of goods through ports.
  • SAROD-Ports: The Ministry of Shipping has developed SAROD-Ports, a dispute redressal portal, for private players in the port sector. SAROD-Ports aims to provide an affordable and efficient mechanism for resolving disputes and grievances, promoting a conducive business environment in the sector.
  • Major Port Authorities Bill 2020: The Parliament has passed the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020, which aims to repeal the Major Ports Trust Act, of 1963. This bill establishes a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port, granting greater autonomy and flexibility in decision-making and operations. It intends to improve governance and efficiency in the functioning of major ports.
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Smallest Port of India

The smallest port in India is Port Blair, located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Situated in the Bay of Bengal, Port Blair serves as the capital and main port of the islands. It facilitates trade, tourism, and naval activities, despite its relatively small size.

Largest Port of India

The largest port in India is the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. As the premier container port in the country, JNPT handles a significant volume of cargo, facilitating both domestic and international trade. Its strategic location and modern infrastructure contribute to its status as India’s largest port.

Major Ports in India UPSC exam

As it falls under the geography section of the syllabus. It is considered a static topic, meaning that the information about the ports remains relatively constant over time. Aspirants should study the major seaports in India in detail, including their location, significance, and characteristics.

To prepare for this topic, aspirants can refer to NCERT books for geography and other relevant UPSC books. The NCERT books provide a solid foundation and cover the basic concepts related to ports and their importance in India’s maritime trade. Additionally, practicing previous year’s question papers can give candidates an idea of the type of questions that may be asked in the exam.

It is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of the major ports in India, including their geographical locations, economic significance, and their role in facilitating international trade. This knowledge will not only help in answering direct questions but also in tackling analytical questions that require a deeper understanding of the topic.

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In India, the ports are categorized as major and nonmajor ports. Which one of the following is a non-major port?


Which port is known as Nhava Sheva port in India?

Jawaharlal Nehru Port

Which is the newest port in India?

Vadhavan port in Maharashtra is the newest major port in India. The Union Cabinet gave in-principle approval for the establishment of Vadhavan port as the 13th major port in India.

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