For the last few years, non-major ports in India are gaining more share of cargo handling in comparison to the major ports. While analyzing the reasons of this trend, discuss what policy measures should be taken towards development of non-major ports in India.

India has 7516 km long coastline dotted with 12 major and around 180 minor ports. Major ports are under the jurisdiction of Central government while non-major ports are under state governments.
The Economic Survey 2016-17 has observed that share of Non-major ports has been increasing, from 28.6% in 2007 to 43.5% in 2016.

  1. Most major ports suffer from capacity constraint and are designed to handle specific type of cargo. Ports have been unable to adjust to change in cargo types are thus losing out the business. Major ports have hardly seen new investments and capacity addition in recent years to match 8.1% CAGR in cargo.
  2. Strong growth potential, sops offered by state government has attracted private investments which are more business friendly, customer oriented and cheaper.
  3. The non-major ports are able to handle diversified cargo streams, superior operating efficiency and infrastructure which enable to handle diversions from major ports.
  4. SEZs being developed in proximity to these ports hence handle more cargo for instance Mundra port, krishnapatnam.
  5. Newer non-major ports constructed have higher natural deep drafts which are allow them to accommodate larger ships.

Thus it is required to develop major ports and enhance :

  • Their efficiency and operational capacity
  • Connect with hinterland through roads, railways etc.

Central government has introduced new Landlord port model for major ports which is speculated to make them efficient.

Question for UPSC Mains:
For the last few years, non-major ports in India are gaining more share of cargo handling in comparison to the major ports. While analyzing the reasons of this trend, discuss what policy measures should be taken towards development of non-major ports in India.

Published: September 25, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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