India has 12 major ports and about 187 non-major ports. In FY15, major ports handled 581.3 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo, while non-major ports handled 471.2 MMT of cargo.
Since ports handle almost 95 per cent of trade volumes in India, the rising trade has contributed significantly to the country’s cargo traffic. To support the growing demand, cargo capacity in India is expected to increase to 2,493.1 MMT by 2017. Likewise, cargo traffic at major ports and non-major ports is also expected to increase to 943.1 MMT and 815.2 MMT by FY17.Given the positive outlook, proposed investments in major ports are expected to total US$ 18.6 billion by 2020, while those in non-major ports would be US$ 28.5 billion.
The Government of India has allowed foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 100 per cent under the automatic route for projects related to the construction and maintenance of ports and harbours. A 10-year tax holiday is extended to enterprises engaged in the business of developing, maintaining, and operating ports, inland waterways, and inland ports. The government has also initiated National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP), an initiative to develop the maritime sector with a planned outlay of US$ 11.8 billion.