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Indian Waterways and Ports

Mohenjodaro, the site of Indus Valley civilisation had found with a two masted ship. Rig Veda has refernce to ships. Naval expeditions and merchants praying to sea before starting the voyage were common in old times. King Vijaya (56-48 BC) went to Sri Lanka with horses and elephants crossing the sea is depicted in Ajanta fresco.

Under Akbar big ships and boats were built. During Mughal times shipping and internal navigation had a department of its own. According to 15th century traveller, Nicoli Conti, Indian ships were longer than the Italian ones. Kozhikode was the greatest shipbuilding centre and executed even foreign orders.

Inland water system : It provides transport and communication for the common man. The three National waterways are Allahabad-Haldia on Ganga Bhagirath-Hooghly river (1620 km, NW 1), Sadiya-Dhubri Bangladesh border (891 km, NW 2) on Brahmaputra river, Kollam-Kottapuram (168 km), Champakara canal (14 km), Udyogamandal canal (23 km) and stretch of the west coast canal were declared as National Waterways number 3.

Ports in India

About 1000 BC, from Ophir (Sopara, near Mumbai) goodes were taken for Hiram, king of Tyre in his ships. About 25 BC, ports like Bharakachha (Broach), Muzris (Kodangallur), Poduca(Pondicherry), Saptanea (Chennai), Puhar, Tamarlipti were well known and traded with Greece, Rome, west Asia and Gulf countries. In 17 th century KOzhikode and Kochi were become important ports of trade with Europe, Iran and other Gulf countries.

India has 6100 km of coastline and 11 major ports apart from 139 minor ports.

  • 01. Mumbai, Arabian Sea, natural and biggest port, handles one fifth of the total traffic, major naval base.
  • 02. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Arabian Sea, newly opened port.
  • 03. Kochi, Arabian Sea, largest natural harbour.
  • 04. Kandla, Arabian Sea-Gulf of Kutch, tidal port.
  • 05. Mormugoa, Arabian Sea, second largest port.
  • 06. Mangalore, Arabian Sea, a tidal port.
  • 07. Chennai, Bay of Bengal, oldest port and largest artificial habour.
  • 08. Tuticorin, Indian Ocean, shallow port.
  • 09. Visakhapatnam, Bay of Bengal, deepest protected port, major naval base.
  • 10. Paradeep, Bay of Bengal, newly opened port.
  • 11. Kolkata, Bay of Bengal On Hooghly river, the biggest terminal port of South Asia.

The four major shipyards are Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineering Ltd Kolkata, Mazagaon dock Ltd Mumbai, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd Visakhapatnam, Cochin Shipyard Kochi. In addition there are 32 small shipping yards in private sector.

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