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Overview of Shipping to India

Shipping to India from China often takes place via the sea.  Today, the majority of India's international trade both in volume and value is moved by the water.  India has the largest shipping fleet amongst developing nations. As of June 2010, there are 13 major ports in India: Kolkata, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai, Kandla, Ennore and Port Blair.   

Shipping to India

Shipping to India's Major and Minor Ports

All major ports in India follow the rules and regulations of the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963 which outlines the services to be provided by the ports. This act was later amended by the Ports Laws Act in 1997 to create the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP).   TAMP regulates the tariffs related to all services.

There are about 180 minor ports in India.  The difference between a major and minor port has nothing to do with size or volume.  It has to do with how they are governed.  The major ports are regulated by the central government's port trusts.  The minor ports are controlled by the state government.  Some minor ports are even private or captive ports. Captive Ports are developed by companies which operate in industries that require port facilities.  These are built and owned by a single organization and operated by its own staff. They are usually used only by that organization and its partners.

India's Thirteen Major Minor Ports

Here is a list of India's thirteen major shipping to India ports:

  1. Kolkata - situated on the Hooghly River, it is the largest trading port in Southeast Asia.
  2. Kandla - a port on the northwestern side of India where the Gulf of Kachchh of the Arabian Sea is located.
  3. Mumbai - is a natural deep water port handling much of India's sea going trade. There are 3 main enclosed docks with facilities to handle oil products.
  4. Mormugao - a port formed on the west coast of India in the former Portuguese territory.  
  5. New Mangalore - is an all weather tidal port on the southwestern coast of India.
  6. Tuticorin - a shallow but big port on the southeastern tip of India.
  7. Chennai - one of the oldest and artificial ports in India.  It is considered the gateway to the south.
  8. Visakhapatnam - is a port with a protected harbor.  The city of Visakhapatnam has a ship building yard.
  9. Paradip - is the deepest port in India.  It is the main entry and exit point for trade by the sea on the east coast of India.  
  10. Ennore - one of the more recent designated major ports, it is the first port to be incorporated.  It is being built in two phases.
  11. Cochin - is an all-weather natural Port, and located close to the busiest international sea routes on the west coast of India.
  12. Jawaharlal Nehru - is ranked as one of the top 30 ports in the world. Situated on the west coast of India, Jawaharlal Nehru has two terminals; one for containers and one for bulk materials.
  13. Port Blair - became the latest addition to India's major ports in June 2010.  It is part of the Andaman and Nicobar island group in the Bay of Bengal close to Thailand.


Shipping Companies Involved in Shipping to India

There are more than 150 shipping companies in India.  About one third are involved in international trade. Here are some of the key shipping companies in India.

Shipping to India requires the international trader to understand the major and minor ports and how they are governed.  Building a relationship with a shipping company is vital.

Real Experiences!

Hanuman S., Import to India

“I am interested in importing goods from China to India.

Thanks for getting me acquainted with the details of this business.“