India has a coastline which is more than 7,500 km long, interspersed with more than 200 ports. Most cargo ships that sail between East Asia and America, Europe and Africa pass through Indian territorial waters.
There are 13 major and about 200 non-major ports in the country. Port traffic at major and non-major ports in India is set to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively over FY12-14. The total cargo traffic in India stood at 930.2 million metric tonnes (MMT) during FY12 and is expected to touch 1,225 MMT by FY14.
Strong growth potential, favourable investment climate, and sops provided by state governments have encouraged domestic and foreign private players to enter the Indian ports sector. During FY13, 29 projects are scheduled to be executed adding capacity of 208 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) at the cost of US$ 8.8 billion. Non-major ports are also expected to benefit from strong growth in India's external trade.
The Government of India (GOI) has allowed foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 100 per cent under the automatic route for construction and maintenance of ports and harbours. Furthermore, the Government has initiated National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP), an initiative aimed at all-round development of the Indian maritime sector with a total planned outlay of US$ 11.8 billion.