13 Major Ports in India [Updated]


India has a sprawling coastline of over 7,500 kilometers with one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world.

As a result, trade by sea has always been of high importance to the Indian economy. Even today, seaborne trade constitutes 70% of India’s total trade volume. This trade occurs through 13 major and 205 minor ports spread along the Indian mainland and its oceanic territories.

In this article, we shall learn about the 13 major ports in India and how they contribute to India’s overall trade. But before we get there, let us understand what a major port is.

What makes a port a major port?

Any port under the control of the Central Government through the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is known as a major port of India. This ministry was formerly known as the Ministry of Shipping until its name was changed in 2020.

India follows a federal structure where the different sectors are administered by the central and the state governments combined. The intermediate and minor ports are under the control of their respective state governments whereas the Government of India controls the major ports directly.

The capacity of a port is not a criterion for a port to be a major port. It is the controlling authority. The 13 major ports in India handle about 74 percent of India’s cargo while the remaining 205 ports pick up the rest.

The major ports handled 719.38 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2021-22 which is about 7% increase from 2020-21 (672.68 MMT).

Major ports in India

Indian Ports Association (IPA) began its operations in 1966 as the regulating body for the major ports under the Indian Government. Its job is to enable the growth and development of all major ports in India.

The major ports identify as member ports of the IPA and thus, the IPA is made up of 13 members. The 13 members or major ports as we travel from east to west along the Indian coast are as follows:

Major ports on the eastern coast

  1. Kolkata port (West Bengal)
  2. Haldia port (West Bengal)
  3. Paradip port (Orissa)
  4. Visakhapatnam port (Andhra Pradesh)
  5. Kamarajar port (Tamil Nadu)
  6. Chennai port (Tamil Nadu)
  7. V. O. Chidambaram or Tuticorin port (Tamil Nadu)

Major ports on the western coast

  1. Cochin port (Kerala)
  2. New Mangalore port (Karnataka)
  3. Mormugao port (Goa)
  4. Mumbai port (Maharashtra)
  5. Jawaharlal nehru port (Maharashtra)
  6. Deendayal port (Gujarat)

Let us briefly describe these ports in the following sections.

Kolkata port

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal

Port Code: INCCU

Website: www.kolkataporttrust.gov.in

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 14.94 million metric tonnes

Kolkata port

Kolkata port is the earliest major port in India. It is situated on the Hooghly river and has a pilotage of about 223 km, of which 148 km is river and 75 km is sea pilotage.

This makes it one of the longest navigation channels in the world. Despite that, it is considered one of the best ports in India on the east coast and has been rightly named as the gateway to Eastern India.

Kolkata port has been in use for several centuries making it the oldest port in India. Its modern development, however, started in 1870 when the British Government appointed a Port Commission.

Presently, it has about 34 berths distributed among its various docks – Netaji Subhas Dock (18), Kidderpore Dock (10), and Budge Budge Jetties (6).

Aerial view of Kolkata port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Haldia Port

Location: Haldia, West Bengal

Port Code: INHAL

Website: http://www.kolkataporttrust.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 42.877 million metric tonnes

Haldia Port
Marine cargo ships at Haldia port for commercial intermodal freight transport from India to Bangladesh.

Haldia Port is roughly 23 nautical miles or 43 km southwest of Kolkata port. It is situated at the meeting point of the Hooghly and Haldi rivers.

The port has a pilotage of about 115 km, of which 30 km is river and 85 km is sea pilotage. It has 15 berths with a total length of 3.3 km and a depth between 8.5-11 meters.

Aerial view of Haldia port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Paradip port

Location: Paradip, Odisha

Port Code: INPRT

Website: https://paradipport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 116.133 million metric tonnes

Paradip port, Orissa
Port of Paradip, Orissa

Paradip port was the first major port on the east coast commissioned after independence. It is located 210 nautical miles south of Kolkata and 260 nautical miles north of Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal.

Paradip port has 17 berths, 3 single point moorings and 1 Ro-ro jetty. It can service a wide range of vessels up to a maximum LOA of 300 meters and a minimum draft of 17.1 meters.

Aerial view of Paradip port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Visakhapatnam port

Location: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Port code: INVIZ

Website: http://www.vizagport.com/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 69.03 million metric tonnes

Visakhapatnam port
View of Visakhapatnam port from an adjacent beach

Visakhapatnam port started its operations in 1933 and was granted a major port status in 1964. It is located on the east coast in the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 257 nautical miles from Paradip port.

What started as a small port with 3 berths has gradually grown into one of the largest ports with 24 berths. A part of the reason for this is its strategic location.

The east coast of India is highly vulnerable to cyclones but the Vizag port has a high promontory into the sea. This promontory, known as the Dolphin’s Nose hill, provides protection against regular cyclones making the port relatively safer compared to its neighbors.

Aerial view of Visakhapatnam port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Kamarajar port

Location: Ennore, Tamil Nadu

Port Code: INENR

Website: https://www.ennoreport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 38.648 million metric tonnes

View from sea to industrial landscape of Kamarajar port, India

Kamarajar port is situated about 20 km north of Chennai port on the Coromandel coast. It was made a major port in 1999, formerly under the name of Ennore port.

It is an artificial port designed with two breakwaters and the capacity to build up to 20 berths. Presently, it has 8 berths and services coal, automobile, petrochemicals, and mineral products cargo.

The alongside depth is 12 m for the general cargo berth and 15 m for the other 7 berths.

Aerial view of Kamarajar port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Chennai port

Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Port code: INMAA

Website: https://www.chennaiport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 48.564 million metric tonnes

Chennai port
Chennai port

Chennai port was known as Madras port until 1996 when the city’s name was changed. It is situated to the southwest of Visakhapatnam port at a distance of 419 nautical miles.

The port of Chennai has 27 berths distributed among the three docks: Dr. Ambedkar dock (11), Jawahar dock (6) and Bharathi dock (10). The drafts range from 8.5 m to 16.5 m.

Aerial view of Chennai port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


V. O. Chidambaram port

Location: Thootukudi, Tamil Nadu

Port code: INTUT

Website: https://www.vocport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 34.118 million metric tonnes

Tuticorin Port
V. O. Chidambaram port, Thoothukudi. Image credits: VOC port Instagram page @vocport_tuticorin

V. O. Chidambaram port is a port in Thootukudi (formerly Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu. It is located in the southwest direction of Chennai port at a distance of 349 nautical miles.

The British Government took control of this port in 1825. After independence, it was declared a major port by the GOI in 1974.

Today, V. O. Chidambaram port is the second largest port in Tamil Nadu. It is an artificial harbor protected by two breakwaters and connected to deep water through a dredged channel.

It boasts 16 berths and can accommodate vessels with a maximum draft of 14.2 m.

Aerial view of VOC port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Cochin port

Location: Cochin, Kerala

Port Code: INCOK

Website: https://cochinport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 34.118 million metric tonnes

Cochin port
Cochin port

Cochin port was developed in the British era over two decades between the years 1920 and 1941. It is located on the western coast of India at a distance of 267 nautical miles.

The Indian Government made Cochin a major port in 1936 and since then, it has steadily grown into a trade hub on the western front.

Aerial view of Cochin port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


New Mangalore port

Location: Panambur, Mangalore

Port code: INNML

Website: https://www.newmangaloreport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 39.296 million metric tonnes

New Mangalore Port
New Mangalore Port

The New Mangalore port was declared the country’s ninth major port in May 1974. It is the only major port in Karnataka and has steadily flourished in traffic and cargo capacity since its inauguration in January 1975.

It is 191 nautical miles north of Cochin port and 170 nautical miles south of Mormugao port. It is a man-made port with the deepest inner harbor (draft of 14 m) on the west coast of India.

Currently, it has 17 available berths that handle a variety of cargo ranging from petroleum products to coffee and all kinds of containerized cargo.

Aerial view of New Mangalore port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Mormugao port

Location: Vasco da Gama, Goa

Port Code: INMRM

Website: https://www.mptgoa.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 18.466 million metric tonnes

Mormugao port
Mormugao port

Mormugao port is a natural harbor that was granted a major port status in 1964. It became the tenth major port in the country at the time.

The main focus since the pre-independence era was to make Mormugao an iron ore terminal, especially since mining picked up in Goa. Over the years, the scope of its services has expanded to general cargo vessels as well.

Even today, Mormugao port alone exports 39 percent of India’s total iron ore annually through its terminals.

Currently, Mormugao port has 11 berths with drafts ranging from 7 to 14 meters.

Aerial view of Mormugao port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022


Mumbai port

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Port Code: INBOM

Website: http://www.mumbaiport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 59.891 million metric tonnes

Mumbai port
Mumbai Port

Mumbai port is the largest port in India in terms of size and traffic. It is built on a magnificent natural harbor that was put into use by the Portuguese, then the British, and finally by the Indian Government.

It is located almost midway on the western coast of India. The distance from Mormugao is 277 nautical miles.

Mumbai port is an all-weather port that was growing at such a high pace that a second port had to be built to ease some of the congestion. Jawaharlal Nehru port came into existence as a result of this.

Mumbai port has a whopping 63 berths capable of servicing dry, liquid, and containerized cargo.

Aerial view of Mumbai port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022

Jawaharlal Nehru port

Location: Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra

Port Code: INNSA

Website: http://www.jnport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 75.997 million metric tonnes

JNPT port
JNPT port

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, more commonly known as JNPT, was started to ease congestion at Mumbai port. Initially, only container cargo was diverted away from Mumbai port to JNPT but in time, liquid cargo berths were also constructed.

In time, it has overtaken Mumbai port as the largest container port in India. Globally, JNPT ranks 35th on the list of the largest container ports.

It has five container terminals, one liquid bulk terminal, and one shallow water berth. The maximum permissible draft is 14 m in the deepest terminal.

Aerial view of JNPT

Deendayal port

Location: Kandla, Gujarat

Port Code: INIXY

Website: https://www.deendayalport.gov.in/

Cargo tonnage handled in the fiscal year 2022: 127.781 million metric tonnes

Deendayal Port, Kandla
Deendayal port

Deendayal port (formerly known as Kandla port) is a major port in Gujarat that is located 430 nautical miles northwest. It was declared a major port in 1955.

Today, Deendayal port stands as the busiest port in India with the highest cargo tonnage. In 2021-2022, it handled 20.5% of all overseas cargo and 17.7% of total cargo ( Overseas + Coastal).

Deendayal port houses 14 multipurpose berths and 6 oil jetties in the Kandla creek. It also has 4 deep draft bulk berths at Tuna Tekra. 3 SPM and 2 product jetties are located in Vadinar. It neighbours another busy port, the Mundra port, in the region.

Aerial view of Deendayal port

Imagery ©2022 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022



Major ports are the lifeblood of the nation. A steady flow of goods and commodities through them keeps the economy functioning smoothly.

Together, they handle the majority of the country’s imports and exports making them a crucial functional arm of the nation.

The government of India has further approved plans to develop 8 more major ports in India. These ports are to be built at Wadhavan in Maharashtra, Sagar in West Bengal, Colachel in Tamil Nadu, and five other locations that are still confidential.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you in understanding the 13 major seaports in India.