Published : March 20, 2024, Updated : March 22, 2024

Which Are The Top 10 Largest Ports in India?

Which Are The Top 10 Largest Ports in India?

Seaports are vital to India’s economy, facilitating the movement of goods worth billions of dollars each year. India’s extensive coastline along the Indian Ocean, from which the ocean derives its name, underscores its maritime importance. These ports serve as the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, connecting it to global markets.

In this article, we’ll examine the key seaports in India and their operational significance. By understanding how these ports function, we can grasp their crucial role in driving economic growth and facilitating international trade.

Let’s delve into the workings of India’s major seaports to appreciate their immense contribution to the country’s prosperity and development.

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India’s Major Seaports: Facilities and Oversight(H2)

Provided below are the details of India’s major seaports, all equipped with cutting-edge facilities and closely monitored by authorities and management for any irregularities or issues.

1. Jawaharlal Nehru Port: India’s Maritime Hub

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Credit: Wikipedia

Located near Mumbai, India’s financial capital, Jawaharlal Nehru Port is one of the country’s largest and busiest ports. It plays a crucial role in import and export activities due to Mumbai’s bustling trade environment and extensive infrastructure. Since its establishment in 1989, the port has been managed by DP World, making it one of India’s first privately managed ports.

Ranked 28th globally for container handling, Jawaharlal Nehru Port handles a significant portion—55%—of India’s total container cargo. As part of ongoing developments, plans are in place to enhance Mumbai’s seaport capabilities. These expansions aim to increase cargo handling capacity to over 10 million tons each and involve partnerships with international companies.

With its strategic location and efficient management, Jawaharlal Nehru Port continues to be a vital gateway for trade, contributing significantly to India’s economic growth and global connectivity.

2. Chennai Port: Southern India’s Maritime Hub

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Credit: Wikipedia

Situated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Chennai Port stands as the largest port in Southern India and has been a vital part of the region’s maritime activities since 1881. Renowned for its long-standing history, this port plays a pivotal role in facilitating trade and commerce, particularly in the automobile industry.

Handling an impressive 50 million tons of cargo annually, Chennai Port serves as a crucial link for Chennai’s automobile sector by facilitating the import of steel and exporting automobiles. Its significance to the automotive industry underscores its importance as a key economic driver in the region.

With a current container handling capacity of 2 million TEUs, Chennai Port is actively working towards expanding its capabilities. Plans are underway to enhance its handling capacity by an additional 100 million tons, showcasing its commitment to meeting the growing demands of trade and industry.

As a cornerstone of Southern India’s maritime infrastructure, Chennai Port continues to play a vital role in fostering economic growth and facilitating international trade, contributing significantly to the region’s prosperity and development.

3. Mundra Port: Gujarat’s Thriving Maritime Gateway

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Located in Kutch, Gujarat, Mundra Port stands as India’s largest privately managed seaport under the administration of Adani Ports and SEZ Limited. Given Gujarat’s status as a bustling business hub in India, Mundra Port plays a pivotal role in facilitating the nation’s import and export activities.

One of Mundra Port’s key advantages is its extensive connectivity to railway routes across India, enhancing its efficiency and accessibility for transporting goods. Moreover, ongoing developments at Mundra Airport aim to elevate it into an international airport, further boosting air cargo operations.

With a substantial handling capacity of 5 million TEUs and 338 million metric tons of cargo, Mundra Port solidifies its position as a major player in maritime trade. Notably, it holds the prestigious title of being the world’s largest coal import terminal, highlighting its significance on the global stage.

As Gujarat’s thriving maritime gateway, Mundra Port continues to drive economic growth and facilitate trade, contributing significantly to India’s commercial landscape and global connectivity.

4. Visakhapatnam Port: Eastern India’s Maritime Hub

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Credit: Wikipedia
Situated amidst the Eastern Ghats, Visakhapatnam Port serves as a pivotal hub for cargo operations in the region. Renowned as the largest harbor in Andhra Pradesh, its strategic location positions it as a key arrival point for goods traversing the Eastern Ghats.

Benefitting from its unique geographical position between the Chennai and Kolkata ports, Visakhapatnam Port enjoys high activity levels, further enhancing its significance in India’s maritime trade network.

Despite handling 0.43 million TEU units and boasting a cargo capacity of 72.73 million metric tons, Visakhapatnam Port is actively expanding its operations. The recent initiation of operations by RINL for its expansion underscores the port’s commitment to meeting growing demands and enhancing its capabilities.

As Eastern India’s maritime hub, Visakhapatnam Port continues to play a vital role in facilitating trade and commerce, contributing to the region’s economic development and connectivity with the rest of the country.

5. Cochin Port: Kerala’s Maritime Gateway

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With a rich history spanning nearly a century, Cochin Port in Kerala serves as a crucial link between the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Established by the British in 1928, its primary purpose was to facilitate trade with Gulf countries, making it a vital hub for international commerce.

One of Cochin Port’s notable features is the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), the largest of its kind in India. This facility enhances the port’s capacity to handle containerized cargo efficiently.

Boasting a gross cargo tonnage of 32.03 million metric tonnes and a TEU traffic of 0.6 million units, Cochin Port welcomes approximately 1500 vessels annually. Its strategic location and extensive connectivity via railways, highways, and international airports further contribute to its prominence in maritime trade.

Moreover, with a naval base in close proximity, Cochin Port adds to the region’s strategic significance. As Kerala’s maritime gateway, it continues to play a pivotal role in facilitating trade, driving economic growth, and fostering connectivity both domestically and internationally.

6. Kandla Port: Gujarat’s Gateway to Global Trade

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Situated in Gujarat, Kandla Port serves as a vital hub for importing petroleum and gasses from the Gulf region. Located on the Gulf of Kutch and in proximity to Pakistan’s Karachi Port, it occupies a strategic position for international trade.

Adjacent to Kandla Port lies the Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ), one of Asia’s pioneering and largest Special Economic Zones. This proximity enhances the port’s significance as a center for economic activity and trade facilitation.

Primarily known for exporting salt and textiles, Kandla Port boasts a robust cargo handling capacity of 122.5 million metric tons and facilitates the movement of 0.17 million TEU units. Ongoing upgrades and enhancements are in progress to augment the port’s handling capabilities and improve infrastructure in the surrounding areas.

As Gujarat’s gateway to global trade, Kandla Port continues to play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, fostering international commerce, and bolstering India’s connectivity with the rest of the world.

7. Mumbai Port: A Legacy of Maritime Excellence

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Credit: Wikipedia
Mumbai Port stands as an iconic symbol of India’s maritime heritage, boasting a rich history spanning over 300 years since its establishment in the late 17th century by the British. Its significance in facilitating trade and commerce has made it one of the most renowned ports in the country.

Originally serving as the primary gateway for maritime activities in Mumbai, the port’s importance led to the opening of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port to alleviate traffic congestion. Today, Mumbai Port continues to handle bulk and general cargo, maintaining its pivotal role in the region’s trade network.

With a gross cargo tonnage of 62.9 million metric tons and a TEU traffic of 40,000 units, Mumbai Port operates over 41 berths, covering an expansive area of 400 square kilometers. Its strategic location and extensive infrastructure contribute to its efficiency in handling maritime operations.

As a testament to its legacy and ongoing relevance, Mumbai Port remains a cornerstone of India’s maritime industry, playing a crucial role in driving economic growth and fostering international trade relations.

8. Hazira Port: Gujarat’s Gateway to Global Trade

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Located in Gujarat, Hazira Port emerges as a significant player in India’s import and export landscape, particularly in association with Surat, a major business hub in the region. Managed by Adani Hazira Port Private Limited, it stands out as one of the premier petroleum and LNG harbors along the western coast.

Hazira Port’s strategic location positions it as a key point of connectivity for vessels traversing between Europe, Africa, America, and the Middle East. Its proximity to the Delhi-Mumbai Special Economic Zones and ports in Mumbai further enhances its importance as a trade facilitator.

Recognized for its advanced infrastructure, Hazira Port is currently undergoing expansion activities to accommodate increasing traffic demands. Presently, it boasts a handling capacity of 1 million TEU units and cargo tonnage of 2.5 million tons, showcasing its capability to manage diverse maritime operations efficiently.

As Gujarat’s gateway to global trade, Hazira Port continues to play a crucial role in driving economic growth and fostering international trade relations, contributing significantly to India’s position in the global marketplace.

9. V.O Chidambaranar Port: Tamil Nadu’s Maritime Hub

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Located in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, V.O Chidambaranar Port (VOCP) stands out as the fourth-largest container terminal in India. This ISO-certified port serves as a crucial link for trade with China, Sri Lanka, the Mediterranean, and the USA, reflecting its global connectivity.

Despite its relatively compact size spanning over just 8 square kilometers, VOCP Port plays a significant role as the primary exporter of raw materials and agricultural goods from the region. It handles approximately 7% of India’s total container traffic, emphasizing its importance in the country’s maritime trade network.

With a $1 billion expansion project underway, VOCP Port is poised for further growth and development. Additionally, the port offers facilities for passenger cruises, catering to both commercial and leisure maritime activities.

Presently, the port manages a cargo volume of 36 million tons and handles 0.8 million TEU units. Its strategic location, efficient operations, and ongoing expansion initiatives position V.O Chidambaranar Port as a key contributor to Tamil Nadu’s economy and a vital player in India’s maritime industry.

10. Marmagao Port: Goa’s Maritime Gem

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Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of Goa, Marmagao Port emerges as a modern maritime facility equipped with cutting-edge mechanized material handling systems, including conveyors, ensuring efficient cargo operations. With a substantial cargo capacity of 7 million metric tonnes, it stands as a crucial hub for trade and commerce in the region.

Notably, Marmagao Port features specialized berths dedicated to serving the needs of the navy, enhancing its versatility and importance. Currently undergoing significant expansion activities, the port is poised for further growth and development, cementing its status as one of India’s major ports.

Despite being one of the more recently declared major ports of India, Marmagao Port has swiftly established itself as a vital maritime asset, contributing to the economic prosperity of Goa and facilitating trade both domestically and internationally. Its strategic location, coupled with ongoing expansion initiatives, ensures its continued relevance and significance in India’s maritime landscape.

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Final Words

India’s top 10 largest ports represent the country’s robust maritime infrastructure and its pivotal role in global trade. These ports not only facilitate the movement of goods but also serve as economic engines, driving growth and development in their respective regions. From Mumbai’s historic legacy to Mundra’s modern facilities, each port contributes uniquely to India’s maritime landscape.

As India continues to expand its trade horizons and strengthen its position in the global economy, these ports will remain critical conduits for commerce, connecting the nation to markets around the world. With ongoing expansion projects and investments in infrastructure, India’s ports are poised for further growth, ensuring their continued relevance in facilitating trade and fostering economic prosperity for years to come.

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