India has 12 major ports and about 200 non-major ports. Under the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala, six new mega ports will be developed in the country. In FY19 traffic has increased 2.90 per cent year-on-year to 699.05 million tonnes and for FY20T (up to August 2019) stood at 293.80 million tonnes. Cargo traffic at non-major ports was estimated at 348.44 million tonnes FY20 (up to Sep’19).
Since ports handle almost 95 per cent of trade volumes in India, the rising trade has contributed significantly to the country’s cargo traffic. Capacity at major Indian ports reached 1,477 million tonnes by FY19P. Capacity at non-major ports is expected to reach 968 MMT in 2019 from 750 MMT in 2016. 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.
India’s total external trade* grew to US$ 838.46 billion in FY19, implying a CAGR of 5.53 per cent since FY09. Merchandise exports during the year were US$ 331.02 billion while imports reached US$ 507.44 billion. India’s merchandise exports and imports stood at US$ 160 billion and US$ 243 billion, respectively, in FY20 (till September 2019). Adani Port and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) became the first Indian port operator to handle cargo movement of 200 million tonnes (MT) in 2018-19.
In November 2016, Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned sum of US$ 1.49 million to Gujarat Maritime Board for capacity building and safety training of workers involved in ship recycling activities under Sagarmala. The Government of India has finalised master plans for 142 capacity expansion projects worth Rs 91,434 crore (US$ 14.19 billion) under the Sagarmala programme. As of March 2018, projects worth Rs 1.85 lakh crore (US$ 28.70 billion) had been awarded under Sagarmala programme. Approximately 10,000 jobs were created through projects initiated under Sagarmala during the last three years In August 2019, India became the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers.
As per Union Budget 2019-20, the Jal Marg Vikas Project for enhancing the navigational capacity of Ganga, a multi modal terminal at Varanasi has been functional since November 2018.
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. Ports sector in India has received a cumulative FDI of US$ 1.64 billion between April 2000 and June 2019. 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. As of Union Budget 2019-20, the total allocation for the Ministry of Shipping is Rs 1,902.56 crore (US$ 272.22 million).
* - Merchandise trade