Major Ports in India - List of Western & Eastern Coast Ports in India (UPSC Prelims)

Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) won the award of the ‘Best Global Port in India’, the third time in a row in the Atal Shastra Markenomy Award 2020. Marine transport in India is controlled and administered by the state and the central governments. While the shipping ministry manages the major ports, the intermediate and the minor ports are administered by the State government in which the port is located.

Do you know?

  1. India’s 95% of trading by volume is done through maritime transport. It stands at 70% by value.
  2. India has 13 major ports and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports.
  3. Six new mega ports are to be developed under the Sagarmala Project.

The majority of ports in India are located in the below-given states:

  1. Maharashtra -53
  2. Gujarat -40
  3. Tamil Nadu – 15
  4. Karnataka – 10

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For details on similar topics mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus, refer to the linked article.

List of major ports in India:- Download PDF Here

To know more about the Geography Syllabus for IAS Exam be sure to visit the linked article!!

You can also check the following links to enhance your exam preparation:

Introduction to Major Ports in India

All ports in India are situated in the 9 coastal states of India namely Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. India’s extended coastline forms one of the major portions of land that juts out into a water body. Thirteen major ports in the country handle a lot of volume of container and cargo traffic.

On the west coast, there are the ports of Mumbai, Kandla, Mangalore, JNPT, Mormugao, and Cochin. The ones on the east coast are the ports at Chennai, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, and Ennore. The last one, Ennore is a registered public company with the government owning a 68% stake. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there is Port Blair. Mumbai is the largest natural port in India.

This topic is relevant for IAS Exam and other government exams in India.

Aspirants can refer to the linked articles mentioned in the table below:

GI Tags in India List of National Parks in India UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
Natural Vegetation in India Major River Systems in India Important Lakes in India

Important Ports in India

The list of important ports in India is given below:

Zone State Port Features
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Chennai Artificial Port

Second busiest port

Western Coast Kerala Kochi Sited in the Vembanad lake
Exports of spices and salts
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Ennore India’s First corporatized port
Eastern Coast West Bengal Kolkata India’s only major Riverine port

Situated on Hugli river
Known as Diamond Harbour

Western Coast Gujarat Kandla Known as Tidal Port
Acknowledged as Trade Free Zone
Largest port by volume of cargo handled.
Western Coast Karnataka Mangalore Deals with the iron ore exports
Western Coast Goa Mormugao Situated on the estuary of the river Zuari
Western Coast Maharashtra Mumbai Port Trust Largest Natural Port and harbour In India

The busiest port in India

Western Coast Maharashtra Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) also known as Nhava Sheva, Navi Mumbai  Largest Artificial Port

It is the Largest Container Port in India.

Eastern Coast Odisha Paradip Natural Harbor
deals with the export of iron and aluminium
Eastern Coast Tamil Nadu Tuticorin A major port in south India
deals with the fertilizers and petrochemical products
Eastern Coast Andhra Pradesh Visakhapatnam Deepest port of India
deals with the export of iron ore to Japan. Amenities for building and fixing of ships are available
Bay of Bengal Andaman & Nicobar Islands Port Blair The port connected to the mainland of India through ship and flight. This port is situated in between two international shipping lines namely Saudi Arabia & US Singapore.

List of major ports in India:- Download PDF Here

Major Ports in India is an important static GK topic. For information on various static GK topics check the article linked here.

The classification of ports into major, minor, and intermediate has administrative significance.

The Union Shipping Ministry handles the major ports, the minor and intermediate ports are administered by the relevant departments or ministries of the respective coastal states.

Government Initiatives for Port Sector

  1. Drawing from the government’s Blue Economy policy, the Union Budget 2021 makes allocations for expansion of shipping and inland waterways infrastructure along with ₹2,000 crores for PPP model in all major ports.
  2. Make in India – In line with this initiative, Ministry of Shipping amended the guidelines of Right of First Refusal (ROFR) licensing conditions. Chartering of vessels priority is given to the vessels built in India, flagged in the country and owned by the Indians.
  3. National Logistics Portal (Marine) will be developed to help exporters, importers and service providers.
  4. SAROD-Ports’ (Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes – Ports) is a dispute redressal portal developed by Ministry of Shipping for the private players.
  5. Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 has been passed by the Parliament that aims to repeal Major Ports Trust Act, 1963. It will establish a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port.

Frequently Asked Questions about Major Ports in India


How many major ports India have?

India has 12 major and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports. Under the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala, six new mega ports will be developed in the country. The Indian ports and shipping industry play a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce.

Which is India’s deepest port?

Krishnapatnam Port, which is capable of handling 75 million tonnes of cargo per annum, is the deepest port of India with a draft of 18.5 metres.

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