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In FY20, major ports in India handled 704.82 million tonnes of cargo traffic, implying a CAGR of 2.74% during FY16-20.

Shipping Industry & Ports in India

    Last updated on Jan, 5 2021

India has 12 major ports and around 200 non-major ports. In FY20, major ports in India handled 704.82 million tonnes (MT) of cargo traffic, implying a CAGR of 2.74% during FY16-FY20. Cargo traffic at non-major ports reached 447.21 MT in FY20 (till December 2019).

Since ports handle almost 95% of the trade volumes in India, the rising trade has contributed significantly to country’s cargo traffic. The major ports had a capacity of 1,514.09 MT per annum (MTPA) by FY19P. Given the positive outlook, proposed investment in major ports is expected to total US$ 18.6 billion by 2020, while those in non-major ports will be around US$ 28.5 billion.  Turnaround time at major ports in India has decreased at a rapid pace from 82.32 hours in FY17 to 64.69 hours in FY20 (till September 2019).

India’s merchandise export decreased 4.78% y-o-y to reach US$ 314.31 billion in FY20.

In November 2019, the first ever movement of container cargo on Brahmaputra (National Waterway -2) focused on improving the connectivity to North Eastern Region (NER).

As of November 2019, projects worth Rs. 13,308.41 crore (US$ 1.90 billion) were awarded on upgradation of major ports. The Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned a 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 finalized master plans for 142 capacity expansion projects worth Rs. 91,434 crore (US$ 14.19 billion) under the Sagarmala programme. Approximately, 10,000 jobs were created through projects initiated under Sagarmala over 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.

The Government of India has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 100% under the automatic route for projects related to the construction and maintenance of ports and harbours.  Ports received a cumulative FDI of US$ 1.63 billion between April 2000 and June 2020. 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. In Union Budget 2020-21, the Ministry of Shipping has been allocated Rs. 1,800 crore (US$ 257.22 million). The Government had undertaken 55 rail projects worth Rs. 45,883.2 crore (US$ 6.57 billion) and 15 road projects of Rs. 2,899 crore (US$ 0.41 billion) for the enhancement of port connectivity at various major and minor ports in 2019.

Government plans to replace old Lighthouse Act, 1927, with Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020, and incorporate global best practices, technological developments, and India's International obligations in the field of Aids to Marine Navigation.

In line with the ‘Make in India’ policy of the Government of India and to boost shipbuilding, the Ministry of Shipping reviewed the ROFR (Right of First Refusal) licensing conditions on October 22, 2020 for chartering vessels/ships through the tender process for all types of requirements. To promote the demand for ships built in India, priority for chartering of vessels is given to vessels built in India, flagged in India and owned by Indians as per amendments in the guidelines of ROFR (Right of First Refusal).

In October 2020, the Ministry of Shipping announced plans to develop a National Logistics Portal (Marine) with end-to-end logistics solutions to help exporters, importers and service providers.

In August 2020, the government announced its plan to invest Rs. 10,000 crore (US$ 1.4 billion) to build transshipment port at the Great Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal to provide shippers an alternative ports in the region. The Transshipment port will enable big ships to anchor and raise India's share in maritime trade due to its proximity to the East-West international shipping route.

* - Merchandise trade

Indian Ports Industry Report (November, 2020)
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