Biggest Ports in India: List of Top 10

Updated on July 03, 2024

Shipping and logistics can be a major challenge for businesses and individuals involved in international trade. Have you ever wondered which port in India can best handle the huge shipments? Understanding the efficiency and capability of ports can make a huge difference in logistics planning and management. Biggest  ports in India play an important role in the smooth running of the business. This article examines what are the biggest ports in India, addressing the need to know where to deliver your cargo for efficiency and reliability.

India has 13 major sea ports, 12 owned by the government and one privately owned, plus about 190 subsidiary ports. Among them, Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva) is the biggest port in India with a capacity of 4.8 million TEUs, crucial for connecting India globally in maritime trade.

In this article, let us discuss more about the largest ports that are present in India along with their working context. Thus, through this understanding of these biggest ports in India, one is able to grasp how they play an essential role in the growth of the economy and the conduct of international business.

The majority of biggest ports in India are located in the following states:

  • Maharashtra: 53 ports
  • Gujarat: 40 ports
  • Tamil Nadu: 15 ports
  • Karnataka: 10 ports

India has an extended coastal line of over 7500 KMs and has numerous massive sea ports which form the backbone of its change. They help in the transportation of a massive quantity of products ranging from Containers, Crude oil, Bulk commodities, automobiles among others. It will elicit the need to better understand the biggest ports in India and their import as essential pieces of the United states’s maritime device.

Biggest Ports in India

India's major sea ports are strategically located to facilitate efficient trade routes and connectivity. Among these, the biggest ports in India include:

1. Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva)

Jawaharlal Nehru Port, commonly referred to as Nhava Sheva, is the largest container port in India. Located in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, it handles around 55% of the country’s total containerized cargo. With a capacity of approximately 4.8 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), Nhava Sheva is a critical node in India's trade network, connecting to over 200 ports globally.

Key Highlights:

Location: Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
Capacity: 4.8 million TEUs
Significance: Major gateway for containerized cargo in India

2. Port of Mumbai

The Port of Mumbai, situated on the west coast of India, is one of the oldest and amongst the biggest ports in India. It handles a numerous variety of shipments, which include dry and liquid bulk, boxes, and breakbulk. Its strategic region inside the Arabian Sea makes it a crucial hub for maritime alternatives.

Key Highlights:

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Significance: Major hub for dry and liquid bulk cargo

3. Chennai Port

Located on the southeast coast of India, Chennai Port is the third largest container port in the country. It is a gateway for transportation of goods from South India, handling various commodities like vehicles, machinery and services.

Key Highlights:

Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Significance: Major hub for southern India’s trade

4. Cochin Port (Kochi)

Cochin Port, located on the southwest coast of India, is a major port that handles a diverse range of cargo, including containers, breakbulk, and liquid bulk. It is strategically located close to international shipping routes, making it a key player in India’s maritime trade.

Key Highlights:

Location: Kochi, Kerala
Significance: Major hub for southern India’s trade

5. Kandla Port (Deendayal Port)

Kandla Port, also known as Deendayal Port, is located in Gujarat and is one of the largest ports in India in terms of the volume of cargo handled. It handles mainly dry goods, including grains, salt and chemicals. The strategic location of the port in the Gulf of Kutch makes it an important import and export hub.

Key Highlights:

Location: Kandla, Gujarat
Significance: Major hub for dry cargo
Capacity: approx 115 million tons annually

6. Visakhapatnam Port

Visakhapatnam Port, situated on the eastern coast of India, is a major port for bulk cargo. It handles a wide range of commodities, including iron ore, coal, and crude oil. The port’s deep draft and modern facilities make it a key player in India’s maritime trade.

Key Highlights:

Location: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Significance: Major hub for bulk cargo
Capacity: approx 100 million tons annually

7. Port of Paradip

The Port of Paradip, located in Odisha, is another good sized port at the jap coast of India. It handles a widespread quantity of cargo, inclusive of thermal coal, iron ore, and POL (Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants) products. The port’s strategic place and infrastructure make it important for the location’s commercial sports.

Key Highlights:

Location: Paradip, Odisha
Significance:  Major hub for thermal coal and POL products
Capacity: approx 127 million tons cargo annlually

8. Kolkata Port (Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port)

Kolkata Port, now known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, is one of the oldest ports in India and serves as a crucial gateway for trade in the eastern part of the country. It handles a mix of cargo, including containers, dry bulk, and liquid bulk.

Key Highlights:

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal
Significance: Key port for eastern India’s trade

9. New Mangalore Port

New Mangalore Port, situated in Karnataka, is a key port on the western coast of India. It handles a variety of cargo, including crude oil, petroleum products, coal, and containerized cargo. The port’s strategic location and advanced facilities make it a vital gateway for trade in the region.

Key Highlights:

Location: Mangalore, Karnataka
Significance: Major hub for diverse cargo
Capacity: Approximately 1 million TEUs

10. Tuticorin Port (V.O. Chidambaranar Port)

Tuticorin Port, also known as V.O. Chidambaranar Port, is located in Tamil Nadu and is a major port for container and bulk cargo. It handles commodities like coal, salt, and fertilizers. The port’s modern infrastructure and deep draft enable it to accommodate large vessels, contributing significantly to the region's trade activities.

Key Highlights:

Location: Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu
Significance: Major hub for container and bulk cargo
Capacity: Approximately 1.5 million TEUs

Key Features of the Biggest Ports in India

The biggest ports in India are equipped with modern infrastructure and facilities to handle a diverse range of cargo. These ports play a critical role in the country’s logistics and supply chain, ensuring efficient movement of goods and contributing to economic growth.

Advanced Container Terminals

Ports like JNPT and Chennai Port have advanced container terminals with state-of-the-art equipment, including gantry cranes and automated systems. These terminals are designed to handle large volumes of containerized cargo, ensuring quick turnaround times and efficient operations.

Bulk Cargo Handling Facilities

Ports such as Kandla and Visakhapatnam are equipped with specialized facilities for handling bulk cargo. These include conveyor systems, silos, and storage yards, which enable the efficient handling of commodities like coal, iron ore, and grains.

Liquid Cargo Terminals

Ports like the Port of Mumbai and the Port of Paradip have dedicated terminals for handling liquid cargo, including crude oil and petroleum products. These terminals are equipped with pipelines, storage tanks, and safety systems to ensure the secure handling of hazardous materials.

Economic Impact of the Largest Ports in India

The largest ports in India have a significant impact on the country’s economy. They facilitate international trade, support industrial activities, and create employment opportunities. The efficient functioning of these ports is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of India’s exports and ensuring the availability of essential imports.

Trade Facilitation

The biggest ports in India serve as major gateways for international trade. They connect India to global markets, enabling the export of goods such as textiles, machinery, and agricultural products, and the import of raw materials, technology, and consumer goods.

Industrial Support

Ports like Kandla and Paradip support industrial activities by providing access to raw materials and facilitating the export of finished goods. They play a vital role in the supply chains of industries such as steel, petrochemicals, and automobiles.

Employment Generation

The operation and development of major sea ports in India create numerous employment opportunities. These include jobs in port management, logistics, warehousing, and related industries. The ports also stimulate economic activity in the surrounding regions, supporting local businesses and services.

Future Prospects of the Major Sea Ports in India

The future prospects of the major sea ports in India are promising, with several initiatives underway to enhance their capacity and efficiency. The government’s focus on developing port infrastructure and improving connectivity is expected to boost the performance of these ports.

Infrastructure Development

Several major sea ports in India are undergoing infrastructure development projects to expand their capacity and modernize their facilities. These projects include the construction of new berths, deepening of channels, and installation of advanced equipment.

Connectivity Improvements

Improving connectivity between ports and hinterland areas is a key focus area. Projects such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and the Sagarmala initiative aim to enhance the transportation network, reducing transit times and costs.

Sustainable Practices

The adoption of sustainable practices is becoming increasingly important for the largest ports in India. Initiatives such as the use of renewable energy, waste management, and pollution control measures are being implemented to minimize the environmental impact of port operations.

Conclusion

The biggest ports in India are integral to the country’s trade and economic landscape. From the advanced container terminals of JNPT to the bulk cargo facilities of Visakhapatnam, these ports handle a diverse range of cargo and contribute significantly to India’s international trade. With ongoing infrastructure development and a focus on sustainability, the major sea ports in India are poised to enhance their capacity and efficiency, supporting the country’s economic growth and global trade ambitions.

Understanding the scale and significance of these ports can provide valuable insights into India’s maritime infrastructure and its role in the global supply chain. The strategic location, modern facilities, and robust connectivity of these ports ensure the smooth movement of goods, making them crucial to the country’s economic prosperity.

 

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