India, with its vast coastline stretching over 7,500 kilometers, is dotted with several important ports that play a crucial role in the country’s trade and economy. An understanding of the key ports in India, their geographical location, and operational significance is fundamental for aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.
Important ports in India
Situated on the West coast of India, Mumbai Port is one of the oldest and most significant ports in the country. It handles approximately one-fifth of India’s foreign trade with predominance in dry cargo and mineral oil from the Gulf countries.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)
Located in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, JNPT is the largest container port in India. It was primarily built to relieve pressure on the Mumbai Port.
Located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Kandla Port is the largest port in India by volume of cargo handled.
It was the first port developed after independence to ease the volume of trade on the Mumbai port in the wake of the loss of Karachi port to Pakistan after the partition.
Situated on the east coast of India in Andhra Pradesh, Visakhapatnam Port is the only major port of India to have three harbours – the outer harbour, inner harbour, and the fishing harbour.
Kolkata Port (includes Haldia)
Kolkata Port, including the Dock Complex at Haldia, is India’s oldest operational port. It is located in West Bengal and is the only riverine port in India, situated around 203 kilometers from the sea.
Located on the Coromandel coast in South-East India, Chennai Port is the second-largest port in India. It serves as the primary maritime gateway for the entire eastern region of India.
Located on the Arabian Sea coast in Kerala, Cochin Port is the largest port in the southern part of India. It acts as an outlet for the export of tea, coffee, and spices from the southern states.
New Mangalore Port
Situated in Karnataka, New Mangalore Port serves the hinterland of Karnataka and to some extent, Kerala.
It handles the export of major commodities like iron-ore and pellets, granite stones, coffee, and cashew.
Located in Odisha on the east coast, Paradip Port specializes in the bulk cargo of iron ore and coal. It also has a separate harbour for fishing.
Knowledge of the major ports in India and their operational characteristics is critical for the UPSC Civil Services Examination, especially under Indian Geography and Economy.
Aspirants should keep abreast of the recent developments related to these ports, including any new port development initiatives, policy changes, and trade practices. Understanding the strategic and economic importance of these ports will provide an added advantage in answering related questions in the examination.