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Ports play a vital role in a countries transport network. This article would be helpful in understanding the significance of ports, types of ports and the future trends in India.


A port offers facility for receiving ships and transferring cargo. Normally they are built at the edge of river, ocean, sea or lake. Ports have equipments which handle cargo. Some of them are cranes and forklifts, which may be provided by individuals or public body. The use of the term Port also plays an important role while explaining the utility of ports. For example, the term sea port is used for ports which handle ocean going vessels, and the term river port means facilities which handle river traffic. The ports on lakes which have access to sea or ocean are called Inland Port. Ports, also plays an important role in the development of industries. Some of the industries are built near ports so that they can easily access the raw materials coming from other parts of the country. Similarly they are also useful in sending goods from one part of the country to another part.

Indian Ports
India has a long coastline extending over 6000 km. The country has 11 major, 11 intermediate and 168 minor ports. Nearly 95 per cent of the countries transportation of goods is by sea, making development of ports critical for nation's progress. The major ports in India are maintained by the Central government, while all the other ports come in the Concurrence list.

Major Ports
The Indian ports Act 1908 and the Major Port Trusts Act 1963 govern the functioning of major ports. The former enables the law to declare any port a major port, define port limit, and levy charges etc while the formation of Port trust Boards gives the administrators control and management of major ports.

The Major Indian Ports Are

Minor Ports
Minor ports come under the purview of Concurrence list and their administration is the responsibility of coastal states.

Some of the prominent minor ports are

Bhavnagar, Calicut, Karwar, Nagapattinam, Trivandrum, Veraval

Future Trends
  • The Indian government has planned to increase the cargo management capability of major ports to 1.5 billion metric tons (MT) by the year 2012.This would be feasible by investing to the tune of $25 billion by the way of public-private partnerships.
  • According to recent estimates the growth rate of Indian ports would be around 160 per cent in 2011-12.Cargo handling in major ports is expected to grow at 7.7 per cent till 2011-12 and cargo movement is estimated to reach 877 million tons by 2011-12.
  • The New Foreign Trade Policy forecasts the doubling of India's share in global exports to Rs 675000 crores ($150 billion) in the next five years.

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