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. To promote India's shipping and port industry, 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

As on January 2021, a total of 161 projects at a cost of $12 bn have been completed and 178 projects at a cost of INR 1,96,578 Crores are under implementation.

The cargo handling capacity during 2020-21 at Major Ports was 1560.61 MTPA and for Non-Major Ports, it was 1002.24 MTPA.

India has become the fourth country in the world to have its independent Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as part of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS). IRNSS will facilitate at least 2500 merchant vessels, including small fishing vessels in Indian waters, to use the system within an area of nearly 1500 km from the Indian boundary.

The India Maritime Vision 2030 has identified over 150 initiatives to boost the Indian maritime sector.

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 Apr 2020)

  • 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. Moreover, India is one of the world's top 5 ship recycling countries and holds 30% share in the global ship recycling market.

By Financial Year 2018-19, 34 PPP projects with an investment of $3.05 bn involving capacity addition of 300 MTPA is under operation. Another, 13 PPP projects with an investment of $978.3 mn involving capacity addition of 140 MTPA is under implementation. Further, there are 20 captive projects with an investment of $713.8 mn involving capacity addition of 142.45 MTPA under operation and 7 captive projects with an investment of $930.5 mn involving capacity addition of 55 MTPA is under implementation.

The overall installed capacity of the major ports in India has increased over 76% to reach 1,534.91 MTPA in Mar 2020, vis-a-vis 871.52 MTPA in March 2014. Moreover, the total traffic handled by these major ports has reached to 704.92 MT during 2019-20. Cargo traffic in the country is expected to rise to 2,500 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%. During 2018-19, major and non-major ports in India handled a total cargo throughput of around 1,282 MT. The traffic grew by 6.13% in the Port industry of India over the corresponding period of the previous year.

  • 118 maritime projects requiring $7.7 bn investment have been approved in the last four years
  • The cargo handling capacity of major ports reached 1534.91 MPTA in 2019-20 

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

  • Container Manufacturing

    Bhavnagar in Gujarat is being developed as a container manufacturing hub

  • 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

  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan - Self Reliant India

    Special economic and comprehensive package of INR 20 lakh crores towards promoting manufacturing in India


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Maritime India Vision 2030


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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