New Delhi, January 31

India’s major ports have seen a 76 per cent increase in capacity to 1,534.9 million tonnes per annum over 2014 when capacities stood at 871.5 mtpa.

Major ports account for 90 per cent of the country’s international trade by volume and around 80 per cent by value. Cargo handled by the major ports in FY22 was 720 mt, the Economic Survey 2022-23 said.

The 12 major ports saw a 9 per cent increase in traffic handled, year-on-year, for the April – December period . Total cargo handled include 576.63 mt for the period under review. Cargo handling in the year ago period stood at 529 mt, data from the Indian Ports Association showed.

“To meet the ever-increasing trade requirements, the expansion of port capacity has been accorded the highest priority by the government through the implementation of well-conceived infrastructure development projects. To further enhance their efficiency, the government is focusing on improving port governance, addressing low-capacity utilisation, modernising berths with techno-efficient loading/unloading equipment, and creating new channels for port connectivity,” the Economic Survey said.

Inland Waterways

The Survey also points out that 26 National Waterways which are viable for cargo movement have been prioritised. Out of these, “developmental activities have been initiated in 14 most viable National Waterways”.

There are 111 National Waterways in the country, of which 106 were declared under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

In order to promote the use of inland waterways, waterway usage charges levied by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) on vessels were waived in July 2020, initially for a period of three years.

The cargo movement on National Waterways achieved an all-time high of 108.8 mt during FY22, recording 30.1 per cent growth compared to the previous year.

India currently has 14,850 km of navigable waterways, with West Bengal having the highest number.

“While traditional infrastructure sectors such as roads and railways have received a renewed push in recent years, sectors such as inland water transport and civil aviation, which have significant untapped potential, are also being encouraged sufficiently. Parallelly, the focus is also on improving coordination among different stakeholders and ministries,” the Survey said.