The Indian peninsula has one of the most extensive coastlines globally and is accountable for a substantial part of India’s import and export business. Currently, there are thirteen influential sea ports in India, the Government of India administers twelve out of thirteen while a nongovernmental enterprise runs one of them, the Ennore Port. These sea ports are vital for nurturing and enhancing India’s advancing economy.

The antiquity of India’s seafaring business goes back to centuries ago. Since the dawn of the shipping industry, India has always been one of the most significant points of marine trade in the South Asian region.

The seafaring culture of ancient India starts with the Indus Valley civilization, which witnessed long-distance maritime voyages by 2900 BC. Even before the addition of the Silk Road, the ships, belonging to Indian traders, sailed thousands of miles traversing the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean to find their markets in East Asia, South East Asia, West Asia, and East Africa. India’s peninsular location makes it suitable for business through maritime routes.

Hence, it also commenced establishing several sea ports in India. Here are some of the notable benefits of sea ports in India:

● Ample Favourable Opportunities
● SEZ (Special Economic Zones) are being developed near numerous sea ports in India, which include coal-based power plants, oil refineries, and steel plants
● Major Market Demand
● The sea ports in India are driven by high growth in the international trade market
● Traffic at many influential ports of the country extended to nearly 704.82 million tonnes during the financial year 2024
● Sheer Competitive Advantage
● India has an extensive coastline of over 7517 kilometers long, interlarded with more than about 200 sea ports
● Policy Assistance
● The Government of India is striving to build a port capacity of almost 3200 MMT by 2024
● The Government has also started the National Maritime Development Programme, an initiative to strengthen the pelagic sector with an intended outlay of approximately USD 11.8 billion With all these said advantages, let’s now focus on some of the major sea ports in India that play a crucial role in handling a preponderance of India’s trade.

1. Mumbai Sea Port (The Largest Port of India), Maharashtra

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This port is situated on the shore of West Mumbai is the Mumbai port. This largest seaport in India is a natural harbor and is about 10-12 meters deep. Mumbai port also manages about one-fifth of India’s foreign trade. The Mumbai sea port is one of the most bustling seaports in India.

It plays an indispensable role in improving India’s economy as well as the trade affairs. The Mumbai harbor is also called the ”Front Bay”, which signifies the gateway of India. Mumbai sea port fundamentally specializes in the import of liquid chemicals, petroleum products, and mineral oil. These imports comprise of chemical goods, leather, cotton textiles, manganese, tobacco, machinery.

2. Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Maharashtra

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The Jawaharlal Nehru Sea Port, also previously known as the Nhava Sheva, is the most comprehensive container port in India. It is based in the east of Mumbai, Maharashtra.  The name Nhava Sheva is derived from the names of two villages that used to exist in that area.

Built on May 26, 1989, the Indian Government entirely controls this sea port. The Jawaharlal Nehru sea port manages nearly 56% of the total vessels and is also one of the best 30 sea ports in India. Shri Anil Diggikar is the chairman of the Jawaharlal Nehru sea port.

The Jawaharlal Nehru port was conferred the ‘Port of the Year’ in 2014, at the MALA awards. The major exports from Nhava Sheva port are textile machinery, textiles, carpets, sporting goods, chemical pharmaceuticals, boneless meat, and imports such as chemicals, plastics, machinery, electrical machinery, vegetable oils.

3. Mormugao Port, Goa

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Goa is one of India’s most breathtaking places and the central tourist hub here. Hencethe need for a sea port is vital to make Goa thrive even more through its trading affairs. Shri I.Jayakumar is the chairman of the Mormugao port.

This sea port is situated in Goa and is the leading port of Goa, playing an essential part in its trade affairs. Mormugao Port was bestowed the status of a major port in 1963. It is the preeminent iron ore export spot of India and exports a total of nearly 50.02 million tonnes of iron ore annually.
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4. Kolkata Port, West Bengal

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This port, also known as the ‘Gateway of Eastern India,’ is located 128 km from the Bayof Bengal on the river of the river Hugli. Kolkata port manages all the goods coming mainly from Australia and South-East Asian countries.

This famous sea port of West Bengal is the only port having two dock systems called Kolkata docks and Haldia docks. It is also one of the largest dry docks in India and the oldest port built by the East India company.

Being the most vital center in the jute trade, it exports various jute products along with tea, steel, coal, copper, iron ore, leather. Its imports are mainly that of machinery, crude oil, paper, fertilizers, and chemical products.

5. Tuticorin Port, Tamil Nadu

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Tuticorin Port is a new port based in Tamil Nadu and is among India’s 13 influentialports. This second-largest sea port of Tamil Nadu is an artificial harbor that expands 8 km south of the former Tuticorin port. It primarily trades with Sri Lanka and is rightly connected by roads and railways.

It is most suitable for pearl fishery in the Bay of Bengal and is also called the pearl city. Tuticorin Port chiefly deals with trading of edible oil, coal, food grains, salt, sugar, and petroleum goods.

6. Ennore Port, Chennai

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Ennore Port is positioned 24 km away from the Chennai port on the Coromandel coast. It has both railways as well as road links to facilitate transport. It essentially deals with the conveyance of coal, which was its primary purpose of development because the Tamil Nadu electricity board required fuel for its operations.

This sea port is responsiblefor the handling of more than 16 million tonnes of coal annually. Additionally, it also deals with petroleum products, iron ore, and chemicals.

7. Port Blair Port, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

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Port Blair is one of the youngest significant sea ports in India and is based in the Andamans and Nicobar island. The Government of India declared this sea port as an important port because of its contribution to promoting the ports of India to 13th place. It is well connected to the mainland of India through flight and ship.