Ports are an important form of infrastructure in Indian economy. They play a vital role in facilitating international trade and commerce by providing an interface between the ocean transport and land-based transport. India has an extensive coastline of about 7517 km spreading on the Western and Eastern shelves of the mainland as well as along the Islands. It has a well-established port infrastructure covering 12 major ports and 200 minor/intermediate
ports (non-major ports)
, spreading across 9 coastal States. These major
ports come under the purview of the Central Government, while non-major
ports (minor/ intermediate ports) come under the jurisdiction of the respective
In India, the concerned authority is the Department
of Shipping, in the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways,
which has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating and implementing
policies and programmes on port sector. The Department has formulated
Maritime Development Programme (NMDP)' which aims to create world-class infrastructure in ports. Total investment envisaged in the programme is Rs. 1,00,339 crores, out of which Rs. 55,804 crores is for major ports. A total of 276 projects (involving investment of USD 12.40 billion) relating to ports sector have been identified under the programme for implementation by 2011-12. These include berth development, deepening of channels, port connectivity projects, upgradation/ modernisation of cargo handling equipment and other support services. A major portion of the investment is expected to come from the private sector, mainly in commercially viable projects like construction of berths and operation of berths and terminals. While, public funds will be used, where necessary, for provision of common user infrastructure facilities.
The 12 major ports serve as the gateways to India's international
trade by sea, handling over 90% of foreign trade. They are spread equally
on the east coast and west coast of India. Kolkata port (including Dock
complex at Haldia); Paradip port; Visakhapatnam port; Chennai port; Ennore
port; and Tuticorin port are on the east coast. While, Cochin port; New
Mangalore port; Mormugao port; Jawaharlal Nehru port; Mumbai port; and
Kandla port are on the west coast. All the major ports are administered
by the 'Port Trusts' governed by the provisions of Major Port Trust Act,
1963 which are autonomous bodies, except the newly ' Ennore Port' which
is run by ' Ennore Port Limited' (registered under the Companies Act,
The total 200 non-major ports are in the following States:- Gujarat (42); Maharashtra (48); Tamil Nadu (15); Karnataka (10); Kerala (17); Andhra Pradesh (12); Odisha (13); Goa (5); West Bengal (1); Daman and Diu (2); Lakshadweep (10); Pondicherry (2); and Andaman & Nicobar (23).
There has been a phenomenal growth in the cargo handled at the ports, which has increased from 19.38 million tonnes (major ports) in 1950-51 to around 649.38 million tonnes (major and non-major ports) by 2006-07. At the beginning of the Tenth Plan, the capacity of major ports was about 344 MT. The aggregate capacity as on 31.3.2007 has been 504.75 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Container traffic handled at major ports is also fast increasing. About 75 per cent of the cargo handled normally at these ports is for overseas trade.
The major ports have handled a total traffic of 463.84 million tonnes during the year 2006-07 and 423.99 million tonnes in the year 2007-08 for the period upto 31.1.2008. Traffic in these ports is projected to go upto 700 MT by the year 2011-12. It is, therefore, planned to augment the capacities in the major ports to about 1000 MTPA by that period so as to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Besides, the average output per ship per day for all major ports taken together has improved from 9267 tonnes in 2005-06 to 9745 tonnes in 2006-07. Average turnaround time has marginally increased from 3.50 days to 3.62 days over the same period primarily on account of increase in the number of ships handled at the ports.
In order to improve efficiency, productivity and quality
of services as well as to bring in competitiveness in port services, the
port sector has been thrown open to private sector participation. Such
private investments are mainly on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT)
basis and include various areas of port functioning, such as leasing out
existing assets of the port, construction/ creation of additional assets,
construction of cargo handling berths, container terminals and warehousing
facilities, installation of cargo handling equipments, construction of
dry docks and ship-repair facilities, leasing of floating crafts, pilotage
and captive facilities for port based industries, etc. Foreign direct
investment (FDI) upto 100 per cent is permitted for construction and maintenance
of ports and harbours.
Joint venture formations between a major port and a foreign port, between major port and minor port(s) without tender, as well as between major port and company(ies) following tender route are permitted by the Government. The measure is aimed at facilitating port trusts to attract new technology, introduce better managerial process, expedite implementation of schemes, foster strategic alliance with minor ports for creation of optimal port infrastructure and enhance confidence of private sector in funding ports. So far, 15 private sector projects involving an investment of Rs. 4242 crores have become operational. While, one project, that is, ICTT at Cochin is partly operational. Five projects are under implementation and 17 projects are in the pipeline.
Major investment and development projects in the port sector
- Re-development of Bulk Terminal as a Container Terminal project at Jawaharlal Nehru Port developed on BOT basis by Maersk A/S and CONCOR.
- International Container Transhipment Terminal at Cochin Port developed on BOT basis by M/s Dubai Ports International (DPI).
- Container Terminal Project at Kandla Port on BOT basis by M/s. ABG Heavy Industries.
- Development of Container Terminal at Kandla Port on BOT basis.
- Stage I of the Inner Harbour Deepening project at Visakhapatnam
- Deepening Projects at JNPT, Mumbai, Ennore, Tuticorin and Paradip Ports; etc.
Thus, Indian ports are indispensable in the development
of countrys maritime trade and economy, owing to Indias current
share in global merchandise trade at around 0.80%. They are not only considered
as trade gateways, but also integral components of the global logistics
and transportation chain.