Commerce Dashboard
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 Dec, 17 2021

Indian Ports Industry Report  (Size: 1.34 MB ) (November, 2021)


According to the Ministry of Shipping, around 95% of India's trading by volume and 70% by value is done through maritime transport. In November 2020, the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi renamed the Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

India has 12 major and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports. Under the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala, six new mega ports will be developed in the country. The Indian ports and shipping industry play a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce. India is the sixteenth-largest maritime country in the world with a coastline of about 7,517 kms. The Indian Government plays an important role in supporting the ports sector. It has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 100% under the automatic route for port and harbour construction and maintenance projects. It has also facilitated a 10-year tax holiday to enterprises that develop, maintain and operate ports, inland waterways and inland ports.

Market Size

India’s key ports had a capacity of 1,534.91 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in FY20. In FY21, all key ports in India handled 672.60 million tonnes (MT) of cargo traffic.

Merchandise exports reached US$ 290.63 billion in FY21.

In October 2021, India’s merchandise exports grew 43.05% YoY to reach US$ 33.65 billion.

The Government has taken several measures to improve operational efficiency through mechanisation, deepening the draft and speedy evacuations.

Between April 2021 and August 2021, cargo handled by India's 12 state-owned major ports recorded an increase of 19.54%, from 245.289 MT to 293.226 MT.

In FY22 (until October 2021), cargo traffic handled by India’s major ports reached 406.98 MT, a 14.59% increase over the same period last year.


  • Indian ports received cumulative FDI inflow worth US$ 1.63 billion between April 2000 and June 2021.
  • In October 2021, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, gave importers the opportunity to bring in vessels at the deep drafted anchorages located at Sagar, Sandheads and X Point.
  • In October 2021, Adani Group announced that it wants to make Adani Port a net-zero carbon emitter by 2025 and power all its data centres with renewable energy by 2030.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) became the first of its kind operational port-based multi-product SEZ in India.
  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone's proposed acquisition of 10.40% equity investment in Gangavaram Port in September 2021. The 10.4% equity shareholding will be bought from the government of Andhra Pradesh.
  • APSEZ (Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone) plans to become the world's largest private port company by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2025.
  • In July 2021, Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone stated that it has priced a US$ 750 million senior unsecured dollar notes issuance with 20-year and 10.5-year tranches, with fixed coupons of 5.0% and 3.8%, respectively.
  • In June 2021, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) handled cargo volume of 75.69 MMT, registering a YoY growth of 83%, in the first quarter of FY 2021-22.
  • In July 2021, India’s merchandise exports reached US$ 95 billion in the three months ended June.
  • In April 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the plan to acquire 89.6% Gangavaram Port Limited by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ).
  • In April 2021, Adani Ports signed an agreement with Vishwa Samudra Holdings Pvt. Ltd., to acquire 25% stake of Adani Krishnapatnam Port Limited (Krishnapatnam Port) for a consideration of Rs. 2,800 crore (US$ 226.4 billion).
  • In March 2021, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) announced plans to acquire 58.1% stake in Gangavaram Port Limited for Rs. 36.04 billion (US$ 493.7 million). The port is currently owned by DVS Raju and family
  • In March 2021, Adani Ports announced to partner with John Keells Holdings and Sri Lankan Ports Authority to develop and operate the West Container Terminal of the Colombo Port in Sri Lanka for 35 years
  • In February 2021, JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust) launched a comprehensive solid waste management project as a part of its green port initiatives.
  • In November 2020, Mormugoa Port Trust (MPT), operator of the western Indian port of Mormugoa, extended concessions on iron ore imports and export freight traffic until June 2021 to help ease India's iron ore shipping trade amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In November 2020, JSW Infrastructure completed the acquisition of Chettinad Group’s port business for ~Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 135.50 million). This acquisition will enable JSW Infrastructure to gain ownership and operational control of a deep draft international coal terminal and a bulk terminal at Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL) as well as coal and bulk commodity terminal at New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT).
  • In October 2020, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) completed the acquisition of Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd. (KPCL) for an enterprise value of Rs 12,000 crore (US$ 1.63 billion)
  • In July 2020, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Ltd, launched an offshore bond offering, raising ~US$ 750 million.
  • In January 2020, DP World launched a new rail service between Kochi and Bangalore to lower costs and reduce transit time between the two cities by >40%.

Government Initiatives

Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote the ports sector in India are as follows:

  • In November 2021, the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways & Ayush, Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, inaugurated the new Radars and Vessel Traffic Management System of Cochin Port Trust. The VTMS (Vessel Traffic Management System) commissioned in Cochin Port in 2009 has been upgraded with a state-of-the-art system consisting two new radars, one AIS Base station, three VHF Radios and associated software & hardware installed at a cost of Rs. 5.8 crore (US$ 772,161.66).
  • In November 2021, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, inaugurated the simultaneous launching of five vessels at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
  • In November 2021, the Union Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. G Kishan Reddy, announced that the centre has sanctioned Rs. 100 crore (US$ 13.31 million) for the Visakhapatnam port cruise terminal.
  • The Draft Indian Ports Bill 2021, which was circulated in July 2021, aims to centralise the administration of minor ports that are currently managed by state governments.
  • The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 was approved by the Lok Sabha in July 2021. Instead of distinct regulations created by the states, the bill attempts to include a single legislation for the country. The registration certificate issued under the new law will be valid throughout the country and state approvals will not be necessary. The bill also establishes a single database for recording vessel and crew information on an Internet portal.
  • In July 2021, the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021 was passed by the Parliament, incorporating global best practices, technological developments and India's international obligations in this field.
  • In June 2021, the Gujarat government provided approval to build a new jetty worth an estimated ~Rs. 192 crore (US$ 25.77 million) at Navlakhi port which has been in operation since 1939.
  • In June 2021, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ministry of Culture sign an MoU for cooperation in development of National Maritime Heritage Complex at Lothal, Gujarat
  • In June 2021, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ministry of Civil Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop sea plane services in India.
  • On May 10, 2021, JNPT and New Mangalore Port handled 120 tonnes of medical oxygen on a priority basis owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • India is expected to begin full operations in Iran’s Chabahar Port by the end of May 2021. India is building two terminals at the port and will operate them for 10 years
  • In Union Budget 2020-21, the total allocation for the Ministry of Shipping was Rs. 1,702.35 crore (US$ 233.48 million).
  • The key ports are expected to deliver seven projects worth more than Rs. 2,000 crore (US$ 274.31 million) on a public-private partnership basis in FY22. Private sector investments in ports have steadily increased over the last five years, touching an all-time high of US$ 2.35 billion by 2020.
  • The Finance Minister proposed to double the ship recycling capacity of ~4.5 million light displacement tonnes (LDT) by 2024; this is expected to generate an additional ~1.5 lakh employment opportunities in India.
  • In Union Budget 2021, the government announced subsidy funding worth Rs. 1,624 crore (US$ 222.74 million) to Indian shipping companies to encourage merchant ship flagging in the country.
  • in February 2021, the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 was passed by the Parliament of India. The bill aims to decentralise decision-making and reinforce excellence in major port governance.

Road Ahead

Increasing investment and cargo traffic point towards a healthy outlook for the Indian ports sector. Providers of services such as operation and maintenance (O&M), pilotage and harbouring and marine assets such as barges and dredgers are benefiting from these investments.

The capacity addition at ports is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5-6% till 2022, thereby adding 275-325 MT of capacity.

Domestic waterways have found to be a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable mode of freight transportation. The government aims to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030.

As part of the Sagarmala project, more than 574 projects worth Rs. 6 lakh crore (US$ 82 billion) have been planned for implementation between 2015 and 2035.

In Maritime India Summit 2021, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways identified a total of 400 projects worth Rs. 2.25 lakh crore (US$ 31 billion) investment potential.

India’s cargo traffic handled by ports is expected to reach 1,695 million metric tonnes by 2021-22 according to a report by the National Transport Development Policy Committee.

Note: Conversion rate used in November 2021, Rs. 1 = US$ 0.01336

References: Indian Ports Associations, Consolidated FDI Policy, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Media Reports.

TEUs- Twenty Foot Equivalent Units, MMT-million metric tonnes

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.


Brand India Pharma


+ More >

Brand India Pharma

IBEF Publications

IBEF Publication

Agri Export Policy - Towards smoother trade, wider global presence


+ More Publications >

IBEF Publication


India's nascent gaming industry on the rise
IBEF, Knowledge Centre


Gaming is one of the fastest-growing sunrise industries ...

India's brownfield asset monetization strategy
IBEF, Knowledge Centre


India is the world’s fastest-growing economy and t...

Mining sector reforms and the road ahead
IBEF, Knowledge Centre


India is rich in natural resources, notably minerals, ma...

Women Entrepreneurs Shaping the Future of India
IBEF, Knowledge Centre


Women entrepreneurs and their increasing presence in Ind...

How the Indian talent pool is enriching the global economy
IBEF, Knowledge Centre


India is swiftly gearing towards a US$ 5 trillion econom...

India’s promising outlook in defence manufacturing
IBEF, Knowledge Centre

Overview – Defence Manufacturing in India

The Indian defence se...

Case Studies More


Join now. Enjoy FREE subscriptions downloads, updates and more.


Already a member?
Login / Retrieve Password