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Top 10 Ports in India

The top ten major ports in India

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Updated on 06 Feb 2023
5 min read
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As one of the biggest peninsulas in the world, India is a bustling hub for global imports and exports. With so many major ports in India that help to sustain India’s developing economy, corporations from all over the world are taking a closer look at India as a potential headquarters for global trade operations.


The nine coastal states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal host the majority of seaports in India. Here are ten of the largest container and cargo shipping ports in India today, several of which iContainers operates in:


Kandla Port


Located 90 kilometers from the Gulf of Kutch, the Kandla Port was built in the 1950s in the Kandla Creek area as the first export processing port in India. It is the biggest container port in India when it comes to the value and amount of cargo that travels through it each year. It’s also known as the most affluent and the busiest port, thanks to its high profitability for exporting grain and importing oil. Today, imports include petroleum, heavy machinery, salt, textiles, and chemicals.


Mumbai Port


Mumbai Port is India’s largest port by size and shipping traffic. Located in west Mumbai on the western coast of India, the Mumbai Port is situated in a natural harbor. The water reaches depths of 10-12 meters, allowing easy docking and passage for large cargo ships. Handling about 20-percent of India’s foreign trade, Mumbai Port is critical to the Indian economy and trade operations. It has four jetties that handle numerous imports and exports, including crude and petroleum oil, as well as liquid chemicals, textiles, tobacco, manganese, leather, and heavy machinery.


Chennai Port


As the second biggest port in India, Chennai Port (also known as the Madras port) handles over 100 million metric tons of cargo per year. It began operations in 1881 as the third established port in India. Chennai Port is located on the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal. It serves as Tamilnadu’s main port and a large contributor to the local economy. In addition to its bustling cargo and container shipping activity, Chennai Port attracts a large number of tourists each year because of its surrounding lighthouses.


Port Blair Port


One of the youngest major ports in India, Port Blair was declared an official shipping and cargo port by the Indian government due to its significant contributions to the economy. It sits inside a natural harbor with a depth of twelve to thirteen meters. It can accommodate cargo ships up to 500 feet in length. Named after the capital city of Andaman, in the Nicobar Islands, Port Blair serves as a connection point between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.


Kolkata Port


Known as the “Gateway of Eastern India,” the Kolkata Port manages cargo that arrives from Australia and Southeast Asia. It utilizes two dock systems, Haldia docks and Kolkata docks. It is the busiest port for the trade of jute, and a major exporter of steel, iron ore, copper, leather, tea, and coal. Imports include heavy machinery, paper, fertilizers, chemical products, and crude oil. It’s a natural river port and can easily accommodate ships up to 500 feet in length.


Tuticorin Port


Tuticorin Port is an all-weather port that attracts large volumes of global shipping traffic. Located inside an artificial harbor, it has an anchorage depth of 10 meters. Tuticorin was once known as the main port for maritime trade and pearl fishing. Main imports and exports include salt, grain, cooking oil, petroleum, and coal.


Cochin Port


Cochin Port is one of the fastest-growing ports in India and the Arabian Sea. Nestled between the islands of Willingdon and Vallarpadam, it moves 11 million metric tons of imported goods alone each year. Imports and exports consist mainly of tea, coffee, spices, fertilizers, and mineral oils. With an anchorage depth of nearly 14 meters and a cargo depth of over nine meters, it can easily accommodate ships of over 500 feet in length.


Ennore Port


With both railway and road links to support sea transport, Ennore Port handles large volumes of coal (over 16 million metric tons per year). There are plans in place to expand the port with three more multi-purpose berths and five container berths. The port is privately owned, unlike many Indian ports that are owned by the government. It has an anchorage depth of 16 meters and is a coastal breakwater port with a relatively small harbor. Ennore Port is located 24 kilometers from the Chennai Port on the Coromandel Coast.


Panambur Port


Panambur Port is located in the coastal city of Mangalore and was inaugurated as a major seaport of India in 1974. It is a deep, all-weather port with 17 berths, and operates all year long. Serving as a trading point for Karnataka and Kerala, it moves many major imports like fertilizer, timber, wood pulp, petroleum, and more. Exports include coffee, iron ore, manganese, and cashew nuts.


Vizag Port


Vizag Port (or Visakhapatnam) is the oldest shipyard in India. It is one of the only natural harbors in the Bay of Bengal. It was inaugurated as a major seaport in 1933 and manages 1.2 million metric tons of cargo in its 24 berths each year, including sea trade of iron ore, pellets, coal, aluminum, and oil. Plans are underway for continued modernization of the harbor thanks to continued investment by the Indian government.


Want to know more about India’s sea freight industry? Check out our article on India’s main exports or prepare properly for your shipping with our tips for shipping to India.

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