Sailing towards success

India is strategically located on the world’s shipping routes with a coastline of approximately 7,517 km. Maritime transport handles around 70% of India’s trading in value terms. The government has also introduced various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for enterprises that develop, maintain and operate ports, inland waterways and shipbuilding in India.

The Government launched the ambitious Sagarmala Programme in March 2017, with the vision of port-led development and growth of logistics-intensive industries. Under Sagarmala Programme, $123 bn would be invested across 415 projects across the following identified components:

  •  Port Modernization and New Port Development
  •  Port Connectivity Enhancement
  •  Port-Linked Industrialization
  •  Coastal Community Development

The projects identified under Sagarmala Programme are expected to have the following impact:

  • Mobilization of over $58 bn of infrastructure investment
  • Double the share of inland and coastal waterways in the modal mix from 6%
  • Reduce time for export by 5 days
  • Boost merchandise exports by $110 bn
  • Create 4 mn new direct jobs and 6 mn indirect jobs

100% FDI allowed under both government and automatic route.

For further details, please refer FDI Policy

  • MT

    Cargo traffic at major ports (2018-19)

  • %

    Cargo traffic growth

  • Indian fleet strength (no. of vessels - coastal & overseas as on Dec 2018)

  • MTPA

    Capacity (2018)


Annual cargo traffic doubled to 1 bn tonnes p.a. over the decade starting 2005


Seaborne trade in India has grown at twice the global growth rate of 3.3%


16th largest maritime country in the world

Industry Scenario

Cargo traffic on the rise

India has 12 major and 200 non-major/intermediate ports (under state government administration). Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is the largest major port in India, while Mudra is the largest private port. Cargo traffic in the country is expected to rise to 2500 MT by 2024-25 from 1,072.23 MT in 2015-16. The major ports in India collectively handled 679.4 MT of cargo during 2017-18 compared to 648.4 MT a year ago; thereby registering a growth of 4.8%.

  •  118 maritime projects requiring $ 7.7 bn investment have been approved in the last four years
  •  Major ports recorded highest ever capacity addition of 100.4 MMTPA in 2016-17

Share in traffic for major commodities (2019)

  • POL: 37.5%
  • Container: 20.8%
  • Thermal coal: 23.1% 
  • Iron ore: 5.8%


  • National waterways

    Development of existing & 106 notified waterways

  • Sagarmala initiative

    6 new ports identified under Sagarmala Programme

  • Cruise shipping

    Cruise shipping potential expected to grow

  • Specialist terminal based ports

    Cargo like LNG with specific equipment & high capital costs

  • Rising trade

    Increased trade & private participation in port infra development

Major Investors

Data On Map

Coastal Economic Zone

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Asked Questions

What is the role of the Directorate General of Shipping?

The Directorate General of Shipping deals with implementation of shipping policy and legislation. Its objectives are as follows:
1) Matters affecting merchant shipping & navigation.
2) Measures to ensure safety of life and ships at sea.
3) Development of Indian shipping.
4) International convections relating to maritime matters.
5) Provision of facilities for training of officers & rating of Merchant Navy.
6) Development of Sailing Vessels Industry.
7) Regulation of Ocean freight rates in overseas trade.

What are incentives available for Ship Building Industries in India?

Apart from dedicated ship building parks/plot offered by various state maritime boards on concessional terms, Ministry of Shipping (Government of India) has also offered various incentive for Ship Building Industry India. Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy aims to provide financial assistance to Indian shipyards for shipbuilding contracts signed between 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2026, including the said dates. The financial assistance will be 20% of the ‘Contract Price’ or the ‘Fair Price’, whichever is lower, as determined by international valuers, for any vessel built in India subsequent to its delivery. The quantum of financial assistance shall reduce by three percent after every three years of the policy. This policy shall be in force for a period of 10 years from the date stipulated in the guidelines formulated by the Government for the purpose.

For details please refer to guidelines for 'Implementation of Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy' (as amended in October 2017) link.

Is there a plan to develop port based smart cities in India?

Yes, there are plans to develop Smart Industrial Port Cities. Initially such cities will come up near Kandla and Paradip ports.

For more information, click here.

What are the initiatives taken by the Indian government in ports sector?

Government of India has launched major initiatives to upgrade and strengthen ports and shipping in the country including enabling policy measures to facilitate private investments in this sector. Some of the key initiatives like Sagarmala Project, dredging and navigation for 111 inland waterways , financial assistance for ship building in India, promotion of cruise shipping and cruise terminals in India, incentives for coastal shipping and development of 13 Coastal Economic Zones along the coastline of India.

What are Coastal Economic Zones?

Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) are geographically contiguous districts within a State that are either coastal districts or districts having a strong port linkage. CEZs would link Major and Non-major ports, Industrial units and evacuation infrastructure into a single system at regional level. CEZs would fuel port-led industrialization program. Ministry of Shipping had identified 13 CEZ along the Indian coastline under Sagarmala Program. For details, please refer to link.


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