Top 5 Busiest Ports in India: 3rd one is the Busiest

Updated on July 12, 2024

Busiest Ports in India

India is a central maritime trade hub for several reasons. Located on the Arabian Sea in the west, on the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal in the east, and the southern coast of the Indian Ocean, it is surrounded by water on three sides. Having 7,517 kilometers of coastline, it ranks 16th among the world's largest maritime countries. That is not all. India has 12 major and more than 200 non-major ports. In this article, we are discussing top 5 busiest ports in India in 2022.

Indian waters are commonly traversed by cargo ships traveling between East Asia and the United States, Europe, and Africa. Most of the world's fastest-growing nations are found in Asia, making it an essential component of the global supply chain. Ports in India are crucial to the country's ambition, the largest of which is Mumbai port. In addition to being the second oldest port in India, it also has one of the best locations for an Indian seaport.This article will serve you detailed information on the busiest ports in India based on the Annual report 2021 by the Ministry of Ports, shipping, and waterways.

This article will serve you detailed information on the busiest ports in India based on the Annual report 2021 by the Ministry of Ports, shipping, and waterways.

Top 5 Busiest Ports in India

According to the Ministry of Shipping, India's foreign trade consists mainly of seaports. The ports are responsible for connecting the Indian Ocean to the trade corridors between Europe and Asia and the Arctic in the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC). There are nine major sea ports in India located along the coasts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and West Bengal. Below are the five biggest container and cargo shipping ports in India as it attracts high volumes of imports and exports from around the world.

1. Mumbai Port, Maharashtra

India's second oldest port, Mumbai Port, has been in operation since 1873 (the oldest is Kolkata). In addition to its size, it is also India's largest port by area, covering 46.3 hectares with a pier length exceeding 8,000 km. It is also known as the biggest port in India. This is a prime location for a major seaport in India. Mumbai is located at the midpoint of the west coast. It also boasts a natural harbor of 800 square kilometers, which is protected by the Konkan mainland to the east and Mumbai to the west. Large ships can easily move in and out of the harbor as it is 10-12 meters deep.

The natural protection of the port enables year-round container shipping. In addition, Mumbai has the largest natural harbor in India. It can handle all types of Cargo due to its multipurpose nature. All berthing areas are equipped with refueling facilities. It has 32 berths in total. Its railroad system is interconnected with the national railway network's Central Railways and Western Railways arms. The port also boasts excellent road connections.

Total Cargo handled as per 2020-2021 report: 38.04 MT

2. Port of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

It is the largest port in Andhra Pradesh and a major sea port in India. Located near the ports of Chennai and Kolkata, it is ranked 3rd in terms of cargo volume. The port operates 24 berths under the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT). It mainly serves India's eastern and southern hinterlands. This port handles a variety of goods, including iron ore, manganese nodules, steel products, general Cargo, coal, crude oil, and different petroleum derivatives.

A few hills surround the port, protecting it from seasonal cyclones despite its cyclone proneness. Vizag Port shares cargo traffic with the nearby Gangavaram Port. Vizag is now the base of operations for the Indian Steel Federation, known as RINL. Coal and steel handling equipment is being added to the port to support this. For ships of larger tonnage, dredging operations are currently in progress. Furthermore, a satellite port has been proposed for Bhimili.

Total Cargo handled as per 2020-2021 report: 44.74 MT 

3. Mundra Port, Gujarat

Mundra is the busiest container port in India, with annual traffic of 4.4 million TEU. It ranks 32nd out of the Top 50 seaports in the world. It is operated by Adani Ports and SEZ Limited (APSEZ), which began operating in 200 and has become the largest container port in India. This has a good connection to India's major hubs. Located on India's west coast, Mundra connects the northern hinterland to the city by rail and road and offers excellent maritime connectivity. 8A Extn Highway and the Mundra-Adipur railway line provide rail and road connections. Mundra port India specializes in bulk and oversized Cargo, including fertilizers, minerals, agricultural goods, steel, and machinery. Among its ten berths, three are dedicated to dry bulk, while six are used for containerized Cargo.\

Furthermore, the port boasts the world's largest coal import terminal, which can handle 40 million tonnes of coal annually. Besides the modern infrastructure, this all-weather port offers its comprehensive cargo protection during the monsoons with its large covered storage areas. Gujarat is being considered for APSEZ's air cargo complex development as a way to improve connectivity.

Total Cargo handled as per 2020-2021 report: 144.4 MT

4. Deendayal Port (Kandla), Gujarat

Deendayal Port, formerly called Kandla Port, is Gujarat's next big port and India's second busiest. Kandla Creek runs through it, providing a natural harbor that protects the island. It is one of four ports in India named after prominent individuals, the others being Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai (see Number 5), VO Chidambaranar Port in Tamil Nadu (see Number 10), and Kamarajar Port in Tamil Nadu. The port in Gujarat is named after politician Deendayal Upadhyaya. Deendayal Port was founded in the 1950s, following the partition of India and its impact on Karachi Port on the Pakistani side of the border, and on the west coast of India, which lacked a major seaport.

Deendayal Port imports crude oil for Essar Oil's Vadinar refinery, which serves as its mainstay. Oil, textiles, grain, and salt are the most common exports. With a planned investment of Rs 9,757 crore, the port plans a major expansion and infrastructure development drive, including building new berths, constructing new roads storage areas, and improving rail connectivity.

Total Cargo handled as per 2020-2021 report: 84.37 MT

5. The Port of Chennai, Tamil Nadu

It is the third-oldest port in India, located in the southern city of Chennai, and handles annual traffic of 1.5 TEU. It was founded in 1881, although it has been said that sea trade along its undeveloped shorelines dates back to the 1600s. Known as the "Gateway to South India," this facility is the largest in the Bay of Bengal. Chennai Port contributes significantly to the economic development of the city as well as the state of Tamil Nadu, like Haldia.

Chennai Port is especially crucial for the growth of the manufacturing industry in the state. Cotton, textiles, automobiles, iron, and leather are among the major exports through Chennai Port. Raw cotton, wheat, machinery, iron, and steel make up most of the country's imports. The port has its own extensive railway system. Including a cruise terminal, it has three docks and 24 berths. The lighthouses at Chennai Port are also a popular tourist attraction making it a top port site in India.

Total Cargo handled as per 2020-2021 report: 30.50 MT.

You may also like to read: Import custom clearance procedure in India

Other Notable Ports of India Include

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Seva), Maharashtra, is also known as the largest container port in India. Total Cargo handled as per the 2020-2021 report is 44.74 MT.
  2. Paradip port, Odisha, is also known as India's first major post-independence port on the east coast. Total Cargo handled as per the 2020-2021 report is 82.44 MT.
  3. Haldia Port, also known as Haldia dock, is one of the biggest ports in India. Total Cargo handled as per the 2020-2021 report is 32.60 MT.
  4. New Mangalore Port, Karnataka, is the only major seaport in the southern state of Karnataka. Total Cargo handled as per the 2020-2021 report is 25.79 MT.
  5. VO Chidambaranar Port (Tuticorin), Tamil Nadu, is located in the Gulf of Mannar, making it naturally protected. Total Cargo handled as per the 2020-2021 report is 23.61 MT.

You may also wish to know: Export Custom Clearance procedure in India

Did You Know?

  • Kolkata Port is the oldest port in India which was established in 1870. Located on the Hooghly River in West Bengal, it is also the only major riverine port in the country.
  • Gangavaram Port is the deepest port in India, with a total depth of 21 meters. It is situated off the coast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Vadhavan port is India's 13th Major port situated in Maharashtra.
  • Maharashtra has the highest number of ports: Two major and 48 non-major ports.

We hope this blog has served you well with all the information related to the busiest ports in India. Have a great day ahead!

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