(Last Updated on : 18/06/2013)
Nhava Sheva is the latest addition to India's most important ports, taking their counting to eleven. This is a port across the Mumbai harbour and is meant to alleviate the grave clogging at Mumbai Port.
Kandla in Kuch was the first port built up soon after Independence, to relieve the augmented pressure on Mumbai port, following the loss of Karachi Port to Pakistan. Kandla was developed into a major port, in order to cater to the northwestern part of the country, like Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Kandla is a tidal port. A free trade zone has also been built up to rev up its development. It manages crude oil, petroleum products, fertilisers, and food grains, salt, cotton, cement, sugar and edible oils. Mumbai is the leading port, with a pretty wide, natural well-protected harbour. Its primary imports include petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and other dry cargo.
Marmagao in Goa is a further crucial port, ranking 4th in terms of entire amount of trade. Iron ore is exported from this port in huge measures. New Mangalore, located in the state of Karnataka, is one more addition to the list of key ports. It caters to the export of Kudremukh iron-ore and iron concentrates. It also covers fertilisers, edible oils and refined granite stone. Kochi is the 6th major port on the western coast. It is located at the opening of a lagoon (salt lake) and is a natural harbour. It manages petroleum products, fertilisers, raw materials and other all-purpose cargo.
Tuticorin is a new significant port in Tamil Nadu, located at the southeastern edge of the country. It covers a motley cargo- including coal, salt, edible oils, chemicals etc. Chennai is one of the oldest, but synthetic port on the east coast. It handles wide-ranging cargo and stands next only to Mumbai. Trade of this port consists of petroleum products, unrefined oil, fertilizers, iron-ore and dry cargo. Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is the deepest inline and sheltered port. An outer harbour has been constructed to export iron ore and petroleum products. It also manages all-purpose cargo.
Paradeep in Orissa is a recently constructed port and particularises in exporting iron ore. It also deals with coal and other dry cargo. Kolkata is an inland port, about 125 km away from the sea. It serves a huge and affluent hinterland of the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin. It is a tidal port and demands continuous dredging of the Hooghly. For conserving a minimal level of water in the river to guarantee its navigability, water is issued from the Farrakka Barrage on Ganga. In order to alleviate the increasing pressure on Kolkata port, an innovative supplemental port has been constructed downstream in Haldia. It complements the facilities available in Kolkata. Kolkata-Haldia held together, handles mineral oil, petroleum products and fertilizers.
India has 139 minor and intermediary ports down its 5,700 km long shoreline. There are 244 ships in the country's coastal naval force, with 6.2 million tonne weightage.