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Water Transport in India

  • The Water transport provides the Cheapest source of transportation to any country. At present, there are about 14,500 km long navigable waterways in India.
  • The length of water ways in India is maximum in Uttar Pradesh followed by West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Kerla. The Buckingham Canal (640 km) long is the longest navigable canal of the country.
  • The Internal Waterways Authority of India was established in 1986 for the purpose of development maintenance and regulation of the internal waterways of India. Its headquarters is in Kolkata.

Inland Water Transport

Inland water transport only accounts for 0.15% of domestic transportation.
Some of the important inland waterways are:
  • NW-1: Haldia (West Bengal) to Allahabad (1620 kms) on river Ganga.
  • NW-2: Dibrigarh (assam) to Dhuburi (Assam, 891 km) on river Brahmaputra.
  • NW-3: kollam (Kerla) to Kottapuram (Kerla) on West Coast (168 kms) along with Champakare canal (14 km) and Udyogmandal Canal (23 kms).
  • NW-4: Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh) to Pondicherry (1086 km) on River Godavari.
  • NW-5: Talchar (Odisha) to Dhamra (Odisha) (623 km) on Brahmani River.

Sea Water Transport

  • There are 13 major and 200 minor/intermediate ports along the 7517 kms long coastline of India. All the major ports work under the ambit of Major Ports Trust Act, 1963.
  • The major ports are controlled by the central Government while the medium and minor ports are included in the concurrent list of the constitution and are managed and administered by the respective states.


Major ports on west coast of India:

1. Kandla, Gujarat
  • this port is a tidal port.
  • It is declared as Trade Free Zone.
  • This is the largest post serving northern India.

2. Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • This port is a natural harbour and largest natural port in India.
  • It is busiest port of India which handles 1/5th of the total traffic.

3. Nhave Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru Port)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port is developed near Mumbai in order to reduce traffic on Mumbai port.
  • It is the most mechanised and largest artificial port of India.

4. Murmagao, Goa
  • The Murmagao port is established on the estuary of the river Juari.
  • It handles iron ore exports.

5. New Mangalore, Karnataka
  • This port handles iron ore exports from Kudremukh mines.

6. Kochi, Kerla
  • This port is a naturaol harbour located in the Vembanad Lake and is known as the 'Best port in the West coast'.
  • It handles exports of spices and salt.


Major ports on east coast of India:

1. Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu
  • Tuticorin is the southern most major port of India.
  • It handles trade of petro-chemical products. fertilizers and salts.

2. Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • It is the artificial and second busiest port of India after Mumbai.
  • Is is considered as most ancient surviving port of the country.

3. Ennore, Tamil Nadu
  • This port is developed near Chennai in order to reduce traffic on Chennai port.
  • It was the first corporatised port of India which started operations in 2001. Except Ennore, all other major ports are Government Administered.

4. Visakhapattanam, Andhra Pradesh
  • It is the deepest port of India.
  • It handles exports of Iron ore to Japan.
  • Visakhapattanam is the best natural port of the country. This port is protected from the Monsoon spells by the hill, named Dolphin Nose, raised here. The facilities of building and repairing ships are available here.

5. Paradip, Odisha
  • This port is a natural harbour.
  • It handles export of iron and aluminium to South-East Asian countries.

6. Haldia & Kolkata, West Bengal
  • These are riverine ports on Hugi river.
  • These ports handle trade with South-East Asian countries.
  • Diamond harbour is the ocean based dockyard of Kolkata port.
  • It is also known as Diamond Harbour.

7. Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Island
  • It has been declared as the 13th major port of the country.
  • Port Blair has territorial jurisdiction over 23 ports, including the East Island Port, Diglipur Port (Port Cornwalis), Mayabunder port, Elphinston Harbour Rangat Port, yhavelock Port and Neil Island Port.

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