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Indian shipping industry has over the years played a crucial role in the transport sector of India's economy.Approximately 95% of the country's trade by volume and 70% by value is moved through maritime transport. India is among the 20 leading merchant fleets all over the world. The country has 12 major ports and 200 minor ports. The twelve major ports are Kolkata (including dock complex at Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Ennore and Tuticorin on the east coast and Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Jawaharlal Nehru at Nhava, Mumbai and Kandla on the west coast.

Ports provide an interface between the ocean transport and land-based transport. In the initial years, the traffic was being handled mostly at major ports. However, over the years, non-major ports have also witnessed growth in traffic.

Performance of Major Ports

Traffic growth: The major ports handled a total traffic of 530.39 million tonnes during 2008-09,registering a growth of 2.1%.About 80 % of the total volume of traffic handled was in the form of dry and liquid bulk, with the residual consisting of general cargo, including containerized cargo. There was an impressive growth of 11.05 % per annum in container traffic during the five years ending 2008-09.

Capacity addition: The annual aggregate cargo-handling capacity of major ports increased from 532.07 million tonnes per annum in 2007-08 to 574.77 million tonnes per annum in 2008-09. The average turnaround time decreased from 3.93 days to 3.87 days.

Performance: The average output per ship berth-day improved from 10,071 tonnes in 2007-08 to 10,473 tonnes in 2008-09. The pre-berthing waiting time at major ports on port account decreased from 11.40 hours in 2007-08 to 9.55 hours in 2008-09.

Port-wise handling capacity as well as Traffic Handled during the year 2008-09 is given below:

(Million Tonnes)


Traffic Handled

Traffic Handled


13.74 12.43
Haldia 43.54 41.62
Paradip 42.44 46.41
Vizag 64.60 63.99
Ennore 11.56 11.50


57.15 57.49
Tuticorin 21.48 22.01
Cochin 15.81 15.23
New Mangalore 36.02 36.69
Mormugao 35.13 41.68
Mumbai 57.04 51.88


55.75 57.23


64.89 72.23

Grand Total

519.15 530.39

Source:Ministry of Shipping,Government of India

National Maritime Development Programme

National Maritime Development Programme has been formulated keeping in view the future traffic projections. The objective of the Programme is to bring up the levels of performance in the maritime sector to international benchmarks. Out of the total 387 schemes/ projects in major ports, shipping and IWT sector which have been identified under the Programme. The total investment envisaged in the programme is Rs.100,339 crores out of which Rs.55,804 crores is for Major Ports and Rs.44,535 crores is for Shipping and IWT sectors. In the Port sector, a total of 276 projects have been identified under the programme for implementation by 2011-12. Out of these about Rs.34,505 crores is expected from private sector, Rs.3,609 crores is expected to be provided through budgetary support and Rs.13,772 crores is proposed to be financed through internal resources of the Major Ports and the balance from other sources. The objective is to upgrade and modernize the Port infrastructure in India and benchmark its performance against global standards. In the Shipping sector, a total of 111 projects involving total investment of Rs.44,535 crores over a period of 20 years have been identified for inclusion in the Programme. Out of this, Rs.13,775 crores are expected to be through budgetary support,Rs.17,460 crores through internal and extra budgetary resources and Rs.13,300 crores through private investment. The activities covered under the Programme include tonnage acquisition, maritime training, coastal shipping, aids to navigation, shipbuilding and building up of IWT infrastructure.

Recent Initiatives

Mode Concession Agreement (MCA)

The Government has finalized a Model Concession Agreement (MCA) to ensure uniformity in the contractual agreements to be entered by the major ports with the selected bidders for the BOT projects to be developed through PPP mode. It will also enable the prospective bidders to have prior knowledge of the contractual obligations of both parties and,therefore, ensure transparency.

New Tariff Guideline

For fixing tariffs, the Department of Shipping has formulated new tariff guidelines, Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) an autonomous body under the Department of Shipping, shall now follow a normative cost based approach for fixing tariffs. These tariffs will act as a ceiling and will be indexed to inflation and the private operators are free to charge below these ceilings.

Rail Road Connectivity of Major Ports

The committee on infrastructure (CoI) headed by the Prime Minister has set up a committee of secretaries (CoS) under the Chairmanship of Member Secretary (Planning Commission) to review the rail road connectivity of major ports which recommended that each major port should preferably have a minimum of a four-lane road and double line rail connectivity and these should be established within a fixed time frame.

Ennore Port Ltd. (EPL)

Ennore Port Ltd. (EPL) has also signed concession agreement with selected bidders for development of an eight million tonnes per annum (MTPA) iron ore terminal on BOT basis.The Government has approved the project for undertaking capital dredging phase-I by EPL at an expenditure of US $ 18.41 million. EPL will bear the entire expenditure for this capital dredging project for providing a depth of (-) 15 metre below CD for the new marine liquid, iron ore and coal terminals being developed on BOT basis. The physical progress upto the month of November 2008 was 80 per cent.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy

Foreign direct investment upto 100 per cent under the automatic route is permitted for construction and maintenance of ports and harbours.


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