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Ports in India

January, 2013


With 187 minor ports and 12 major ports in the country, Indian shipping sector is poised to make great growth in the coming years. Shipping continues to be one of the most efficient modes of transportation in India, especially when it comes to bulky goods and long distances. While the Indian Government has allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector to promote higher capital inflows, it has also embarked on the public-private partnership (PPP) route for modernisation and expansion of the Indian ports.

The national maritime agenda drafted aims for an expansion of total port traffic from current 800 million tonnes (MT) to about 2, 500 MT by 2020. Alongside, the agenda projects total capacity, of all ports together, to raise from current 900 MT to 3, 130 MT.

To achieve the desired results, Indian shipping ministry is making all the possible efforts and funding. It has decided to invest Rs 73, 793.95 crore (US$ 13.71 billion) for development of various projects in the sector during the 12th Five year plan. According to the plan, the annual capacity of major ports would expand to 1229.24 MT by the end of March, 2017.

Key Statistics

  • Cargo traffic at major ports stood at 44.2 MT in November 2012 while export cargo volumes stood at 13.7 MT
  • Iron ore traffic at major Indian ports increased by over 100 per cent in December 2012. A total of 1.89 MT iron ore was shipped out of 11 major Indian ports in December 2012, up from 907,000 tonne in November, as per Indian Port Association data

Recent Developments

  • India's inland water transport major, LOTS Shipping Ltd has decided to enter coastal shipping space with M V Beypore Sultan, the Type IV river sea vessel (an all weather vessel that can go any port in the country). The M V Beypore Sultan is the first such vessel being built as the India river sea rules announced in 2008.
    The coastal shipping will not only reduce the burden on roads, but will also be beneficial for exporters and importers from the hinterland of minor ports in Kerala such as Beypore, Azhikkal, Thangassery, Vizinjam, Mangalore and Tuticorin
  • The privately-run Krishnapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh is in all preparations to compete with Chennai and Ennore ports by commencing export of cars that are manufactured in the Chennai and Bangalore regions. The port, located 180 km north of Chennai, is constructing a roll-on roll-off berth in the south terminal and expects the berth (to handle the cars) to be ready by the first quarter of 2013-14
  • ABG Shipyard is planning to invest Rs 5,000 crore (US$ 929.36 million) to build a greenfield shipyard along the Gujarat coastline. The company has submitted the corresponding proposal to the State Government. The project, to be executed in three phases, will be the company's third facility in Gujarat and is likely to generate jobs for about 4, 500 persons. ABG also plans to expand its facilities at Dahej and Magdalla in three phases, with an estimated capital infusion of Rs 2,000 crore (US$ 371.75 million)
  • The New Mangalore port has recorded 12.41 per cent growth in cargo handling in the first eight months of 2012-13. The port handled 23.55 MT of cargo from April-November 2012-13 as against 20.95 MT of it in the corresponding period the previous year. The officials attributed this growth to the increased handling of coal cargo during the fiscal and the facilities provided at the port
  • In a bid to get a strong foot-hold on the eastern coast, the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group is in the final stages of buying construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Tata Steel's stakes (50 per cent each) in Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) in Odisha for an enterprise valuation of close to US$1 billion. The step further strengthens the Adani group's ambition to set up ports all over India. The group currently operates Adani Ports in Gujarat, the second-largest commercial port infrastructure company and the largest private port operator in India. The group is also constructing ports in Hazira, coal berths in Mormugao, Vizag and a dry bulk terminal in Kandla