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Maritime transport is a critical infrastructure for the social and economic development of a country. Ministry of Shipping is entrusted with the responsibility of formulating policies and programs for the shipping and ports sector. Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP), constituted in April 1997, is an independent Authority which regulates all tariffs, both vessel and cargo related, and rates for lease of properties in respect of major port trusts and the private operators in major ports.

India has a coastline of 7,517 km served by 13 major ports and about 200 notified non-major ports along the coast line and sea-islands. Major ports fall under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Shipping and are governed by the provisions of the Major Port Trusts Act 1963, except for Kamarajar Port Limited which is constituted under the Companies Act, 1956. Non-major Ports come under the administrative jurisdiction of the respective State Maritime Boards of the State Governments.

Market Size

India’s total external trade is estimated to have grown to USD765 billion in FY14, implying a CAGR of 14.9 per cent since FY06. The Ports handle over 95 per cent of the country’s total international trade volume and around 70 per cent of total trade value, thus, rising trade is contributing significantly to cargo traffic.



The cargo traffic at major ports stood at 581.3 MMT in FY15, implying a CAGR of 2.8 per cent since FY07, while, the cargo traffic at non-major ports stood at 420.2 MMT in FY14, implying a CAGR of 10.7 per cent. Non-major ports are gaining shares and a major chunk of traffic is shifting from major ports to non-major ports. The contribution of non-major port’s traffic to total traffic rose to 44.1 per cent in FY15 from 28.6 per cent in FY07. The capacity at Major Ports grew to 800.5 MMT in FY15, implying a CAGR of 8.4 per cent since FY06. The capacity utilization for Major Ports in FY15 is around 73 per cent. (Source: IBEF and Ministry of Shipping)  


The total cargo traffic for the period FY 2013-2017 is expected to rise to 1,758 MMT at a CAGR of 17 per cent, of which, the share of Major Ports is expected to be 943 MMT, i.e. 53.6 percent. The total capacity is envisaged to be 2,289 MMT by FY17. (Source: IBEF)

Key Initiatives

In 1996, the port sector was opened for private sector participation, following which, the government decided to move towards the Landlord Port concept, where new ports were expected to be established as companies under the Companies Act 1956 and existing port trusts were expected to be corporatized; the plan has not been implemented, with the exception of Kamarajar Port Limited.

The Government initiated National Maritime Development Program (NMDP), an initiative to develop the maritime sector with the planned outlay of USD11.8 billion. The focus of the program is to provide guidelines for capacity augmentation and hinterland connectivity improvements at major ports; the program mandates that over 60 per cent of the required funds be raised from private sector.

MOS has notified standardized bidding and contractual documents, such as, model RFQ and RFP and MCAs to encourage PPPs in the sector.

Public Private Partnership

MOS has notified standardized bidding and contractual documents, such as, model RFQ and RFP for procurement of the preferred bidder; MCAs that governs the contractual relationship between the public authority and the private sector specific to a PPP project, for private sector participation. Private ports enjoy price flexibility, as the government allows non-major ports to determine their own tariffs in consultation with the State Maritime Boards.

During the year 2013-14, sixteen (16) PPP projects were awarded at an estimated cost of Rs. 18,640.8 crores for capacity addition of 159 MT in the Major Ports comprising construction of berths and terminals, mechanization of existing berths, etc. In addition to the development of ports and terminals, the private sector has extensively participated in port logistics services.                                  

Investment Environment

The High Level Committee on Infrastructure Financing projects an investment of Rs. 95,424 crore during the 12th FYP, of which, approximately 80 per cent of the investment is expected through private sector participation. The Ministry of Shipping, through its Maritime Agenda 2010–2020, has set a target capacity of over 3,130 MMT by 2020 driven by private sector participation, of which, over 50 per cent is anticipated to be generated at non-major ports.

Policy Environment

·     Launch of NMDP and National Maritime Agenda to support the development of port sector;

·     GOI has allowed foreign direct investment of up to 100 per cent under the automatic route for projects related to construction and maintenance of ports and harbours;

·     No approval required for foreign equity up to 51 per cent in projects providing supporting services to water transport;

·     Permission granted for formation of joint ventures between Major Ports and foreign ports, Major Ports and Non-Major Ports, and Major Ports and companies;

·     Various incentives, such as, ten year tax holiday for enterprises engaged in development of Port sector.

 Growth Potential  

·     The Ministry of Shipping has formulated a Perspective Plan for development of the Maritime Sector, namely, “The Maritime Agenda (2010-2020).” This Plan has estimated the traffic projections and capacity additions at the ports upto the year 2020. Based on the estimated growth, it has projected capacity of 3,130 MT by 2019-20.

·     Converting 12 public port trusts in India into corporations under the Companies Act is expected to bring in greater efficiencies in operations and raise funds for growth.

·     Sagar Mala aims to develop Ports, hinterland and efficient evacuation through road, rail, and inland and coastal waterways resulting in Ports becoming the drivers of economic activity in coastal areas. A strategic customer oriented initiative of GoI, Sagar Mala aims to evolve a model of port led development whereby India’s long coastline will become the gateway of India’s prosperity. It envisages transforming the existing Ports into modern world class Ports on one hand and developing new world class port on the other hand.

(This sector profile has been compiled as on May 2015. Information has been collected from various sources such as Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), Ministry of Shipping, Tariff Authority for Major Ports, Twelfth Five Year Plan and Second Report of the High Level Committee on Financing Infrastructure. For detailed information, users may refer to the website of Ministry of Shipping, www.


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