Major Seaports of India
India boasts of a coastline that stretches up to 5700 kms. along the mainland and additional 7500 kms. along the two islands. India is lucky to have major water bodies on its two sides that is the east as well as the west side. India has a total of 11 major sea ports on its two sea shores. There are several medium seaports like: Ratnagiri, Sikka, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Trivendrum, Navlakhi, Karwar, Cacicut, Okhla, Gopalpur, etc. The medium and minor ports are around 200 in numbers. These ports have been classified as major, medium and minor for administrative purposes.
The major seaports of India are:
• On the west coast: Kochi, Marmagao, Mumbai, Kandla, New Mangalore, Nhava Sheva.
• On the east coast: Chennai, Haldia, Paradip, Tuticorin and Vishakhapatnam.
Each one of these ports has certain attributes that make them indispensable for their contribution towards Indian trade and commerce. Let us look at them one by one:
• Port of Mumbai: This port has a natural harbor and has been of great importance for Indian Shipping Industry. The vessels often have to wait their turn to doc as this port is always congested.
• Port of Nhava Sheva: The port is also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Port after Late Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the country. It was built to reduce the pressure on the Port of Mumbai and has served its purpose well and is now the busiest port in India. It has been planned and constructed quite recently in accordance with international standards and State-of-the-art facilities for handling dry bulk cargo. It handles the export of textiles and related products and imports of aluminum, plastics, chemicals, vegetable oils, machinery, etc.
• Port of Chennai: The port of Chennai known as the Port of Madras previously, also holds an important position for handling containers. It is an artificial harbor located on the Coromandel Coast. A unique feature of this port is its usage of single window clearance system.
• Port of Tuticorin: This port offers round the clock services and adjoins the Gulf of Mannar, a very strategic location close to the east-west international sea route. Also it is the first Indian port to have received an ISO 9002 certification.
• Port of Kochi: is a natural port situated on the Willington Island. Equipped with modern cargo handling facilities, it is also one of the congestion free ports of India.
• Port of Haldia: It is a riverine port and the fourth largest in the country. It is situated near Kolkata at the convergence of the Hooghly and the Haldi rivers. It has two dock systems.
• Port of Vishakhapatnam: This port plays a major role in the domestic and international trading operations of India. It serves as the base junction for Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern States of India. It fulfills security needs of the country in the east by providing births for almost fifty vessels or more.
• Port of New Mangalore: This port dates back to 1974 and since its inception has played a crucial role in the economic development of Karnataka. It imports LPG, wood pulp, fertilizers; etc. and exports granite stones, iron ore concentrates, etc.
• Port of Kandla: is located in Gulf of Kutch. It is considered as India’s hub for oil and food grains’ imports.
• Port of Paradip: Located in Orissa, this port basically caters to the eastern and central parts of India and deals with clean cargo and bulk cargo.
• Port of Marmagao: The port of Marmagoa is the main port of Goa. This is a natural harbor located at the mouth of river Zuari. It has been largely responsible for the growth of exports in the state and is also a famous tourist spot.
Mumbai, Vishakapatnam, Chennai and Marmagoa are the most important ports when it comes to handling gross weightage tonnage annually.Increasing urbanization, industrialization and global trade has resulted in immense pressure of the geographical and ecological features of the coastline. Corrective action along with preventive action needs to be resorted to without delay.
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