Ports and Maritime


Salient Points

  • 87 new projects approved.
  • 73 Public Private Partnerships.
  • 60 operational non-major ports.
  • 800 Million Metric Tonnes in cargo capacity.
  • 12 major ports.
  • INR 430 Billion invested between 2010-14.

Relevant Statistics

  • Over 7500 kilometres of coastline with 12 major and 60 operational non-major ports.
  • 90% of the country’s trade by volume and 70% by value is moved through maritime transport.
  • 12 major ports in India handle approximately 58% of cargo traffic.
  • Cargo traffic witnessed CAGR of 3.9% at major ports, 13.7% at non-major ports and 10.4% of container cargo during 2007-12.
  • Cargo handled at major ports – bulk (44% – iron ore, coal, fertilizer) liquid (33% petrol, oil and lubricants) container (23%).

Growth Drivers

  • Increasing trade activities and private participation in port infrastructure development.
  • Rising cargo traffic and an increase in the number of non-major ports.
  • Existing ports are investing on improving their draft depth.
  • Focus on the development of terminals that deal with a particular type of cargo, for eg. LNG.
  • India is the largest importer of thermal coal in the world and this is expected to grow due to increased demand for power.

Reasons to Invest

  • An unprecedented increase in cargo-handling capacity – 800 Million Metric Tonnes in February 2014, from 575 Million Metric Tonnes in 2009.
  • 87 new port projects have been sanctioned in the last four years, with an investment of INR 430 Billion. 28 PPP terminals are in operation in major ports and another 45 are under construction.
  • New projects have seen an increase in capacity of 558 Mega Million Tonnes per annum.
  • A projected increase in cargo capacity of 2289 Million Metric Tonnes by 2017 from 1235 Million Metric Tonnes in 2012.
  • A projected increase in cargo traffic at major ports – 943 Million Metric Tonnes by 2017 from 546 Million Metric Tonnes in 2013.
  • A projected increase in cargo traffic at non-major ports – 815 Million Metric Tonnes by 2017 from 388 Million Metric Tonnes in 2013.
  • Container demand is expected to increase to 21 Million T.E.U by 2017, from 6.5 Million T.E.U in 2012.
  • Special Economic Zones are being developed in close proximity to several ports – comprising coal-based power plants, steel plants and oil refineries.

FDI Policy

  • 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route for projects related to the construction and maintenance of ports and harbours, subject to applicable regulations and laws.

Sector Policy


A perspective plan of the government defines priority areas of investment in the Indian maritime sector. These include:

  • Plans to create port capacity of around 3200 MMT to handle the expected traffic of about 2500 MMT by 2020.
  • Plans to implement full mechanization of cargo handling and movement at ports.
  • The development of two major ports as well as two port hubs.
  • Major ports are under the jurisdiction of the Government of India and are governed by the Major Port Trust Act, 1963, except Ennore Port, which is administered under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Non-major ports are under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments’ maritime boards.

Financial Support


  • Allocation of INR 116.35 Billion for the development of the Outer Harbour Project in Tuticorin for Phase I.
  • A Ganges-based project named ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ will be undertaken between Allahabad and Haldia. This project is to be completed over a period of 6 years at an estimated cost of INR 42 Billion.
  • Exemptions under the Income Tax Act for Infrastructure Development, under Section 80IA.

Investment Opportunities

  • Port development – the opportunity to serve the spill-off demand from major ports.
  • Port support services – operation and maintenance services such as pilotage, dredging, harbouring and provision of marine assets such as barges and dredgers.

Ship repair facilities in ports – demand for ship repair services will increase, providing opportunities to build new dry docks and set up ancillary repair facilities.

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