Indian Economy : Shipping


Shipping plays an important role in the transport sector of India’s economy. Approximately 95 percent of country’s trade volume (70 percent in terms of value) is moved by sea. India has the largest merchant shipping fleet among the developing countries and is among the 20 leading merchant fleets all over the world. With largest cargo carrying fleet with 9.28 million GT and the average of the fleet being 17 years, Indian maritime sector facilitates not only transportation of national and international cargoes but also provides a variety of other services such as cargo handling services, ship building and ship repairing, freight forwarding, light house facilities and training of the marine personnel etc. As on 1 December, 2008 India had a total 912 ships with 9.28 million GT and 15.30 million DWT.


Indian shipping tonnage which was only 1.92 lakhs Gross Registered Tonnage on the eve of in independence now stand at 9.31 million GRT with 912 vessels as on 31. 12. 2008. 92 vessels totalling 896828 GT have actually been added and 30 vessels totalling 616074 GT deleted from Indian fleet during the period from 01. 01. 2008 to 31. 12. 2008.


India, with her 7,516.6 km. Long coastline studded with 13 major ports and 200 non-major ports providing congenial and favourable conditions for the development of this alternate mode of transport.India’s coastal shipping tonnage as on 31 November 2008, was 615 vessels with 964049 GRT .


India has got about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creaks, etc. About 54.881 million tonnes of cargo is being moved annually by Inland Water transport, a fuel efficient and environment- friendly mode.


India has about 7517 km of major coastline serviced by 12 major ports and about 200 other ports. The major ports are under the preview of the central government, while other ports (popularly known as minor/intermediate ports) come under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments.

Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru at Nhava Sheva, Kandla, Murmugao, New Manglore and Cochin on the west coast and Kolkata/Haldia, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Enhore and Tuticorin on east coast are the major ports.

The cargo handling at Indian ports has increased from a level of 19.38 million tonnes (major ports) in 1950-51 to around 722.93 million tonnes (major and non-major ports) by 2007-08. Traffic at major and non major ports stood at 519.31 million tonnes and 203.62 million tonnes.

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