India's major ports handled the highest-ever cargo at 795 million tonne in FY23, registering an increase of 10.4 per cent over the previous year, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Friday.

Addressing an event organised by FICCI, the Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister further said major ports recorded the highest ever output per day of 17,239 tonne in last fiscal year, a growth of 6 per cent as compared to FY22.

The Minister also said 21,846 vessels were handled last financial year by major ports.

India has 12 major ports -- Deendayal (Kandla), Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore (Kamarajar), Tuticorin (V O Chidambaranar), Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port.

Sonowal said by leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence, India can optimise operations and make its ports more efficient.

According to him, major ports are being developed as hydrogen hubs for handling, storage, and transportation of green hydrogen.

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Under National Hydrogen Mission, green hydrogen/ammonia bunkers and refuelling facilities are to be established in all major ports by 2035, he added.

Deendayal, Paradip, and V.O. Chidambaranar ports are developing infrastructure for establishment of hydrogen bunkering.

India has set an ambitious target of 500 GW non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030, including a target of 30 GW offshore wind installation by that year.

Sonowal said India aims to become a global hub for green shipbuilding by 2030 with the launch of the 'Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP)'.

At least 50 per cent of all tugs are proposed to be converted to green tugs by 2030, he added.

Highlighting the achievements of India's shipping sector, Sonowal said the number of Indian seafarers employed in 2014 was 1,17,090, which increased to 2,50,071 in 2022.

Noting that the development of smart ports is crucial for the growth of India's economy, Sonowal said," By investing in technology, safety, and sustainability, we can create a brighter future for our ports, and in turn, our country."

About 95 per cent of India’s trading by volume and 70 per cent by value is done through maritime transportation.