Ports & Fisheries Department
Government of Gujarat


Gujarat, situated on the western coast of India, is a principal Maritime State endowed with favorable strategic port locations. The prominence of Gujarat is by a virtue of having nearly 1600 kms long coastline, which accounts for 1/3rd of the coastline of India and being the nearest maritime outlet to Middle East, Africa and Europe.

In 1991, Government of India initiated various economic, trade and industrial reforms, through the policy of liberalisation to enhance industrial and trading activities. The rationalisation of import duties and stress on export promotion have seen imports increasing by 24% and export by 25%. Gujarat State, is one of those frontline States that can take up the policy of liberalisation and privatisation, announced by the Government of India through a process of globalisation.

Gujarat itself is experiencing a phenomenal interest in investment both from Mega-Industrial sectors within the country and also from top Multi Nationals abroad. Investment to the tune of $ 30 billion are already in the pipeline. From an analysis of the present investments and those that are flowing in, one can perceive a particular trend which is manifesting itself - investments are converging in and around potential port sites. Investments of over Rs. 16.000 crores are taking place at Hazira, Rs. 15,000 crores are planned at Vagra. Rs. 20,000 crores are planned in areas near Pipavav and near Jamnagar port locations. The logic of locating these industries is rather clear, viz., the large business houses want to import industrial raw-materials and want access to the international market through sea routes, which is definitely more viable and feasible as against the surface transport or air transport.

Another major advantage is that, Gujarat has a vast hinterland consisting of fast developing Northern and Central Indian States generating cargo. The State of Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh, Western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which constitute 35% of the total exports, are potential customers for Gujarat ports. Export of surplus foodgrains from these major grain producing States and import of fertilizers to these major consumers, offer great potential for growth of cargo in near future. Any economic development, taking place in these hinterland States have a direct bearing on Gujarat ports.

Indian ports handled 197 million tones of cargo in 1994-95, 90% of which were contributed by the Major Ports. The port activity, in terms of ship turn-around time, waiting time and average ship per day output, has a significant influence on development scenario. The existing major ports are under tremendous pressure to handle the increasing cargo traffic, resulting into demurrages and huge loss in the foreign exchange.

In the global scenario, during the last decade, new technology development has taken place, especially in the container handling equipment and new port layout to accommodate container traffic. This technology development demands new institutional set-up and major investments to help in solving the problems of port modernisation. With the global shipping industry introducing suppressed vessels, the Port of Future will be totally integrated with inter-modal cargo flows and co-ordinated sea vessels and hinterland vehicle arrivals and departures. The new proposed port locations of Gujarat are highly suited to adapt itself, to the current technology development in the areas of communication, automation, cargo handling and ship technology, which needs drastic changes in the physical layout of ports as well as equipment's, operations and management. It is in this perspective that it is imperative, Gujarat approaches the problem, by focussing on an integrated strategy, incorporating 25 to 30 years future demands scenario. It makes itself evident, that any globalisation that is to take place, has to take place through ports of international class.

  • Along the 1600 Kms. of coastline of Gujarat, there are 41 ports, of which Kandla is a major port. Out of remaining 40 ports, 11 are intermediate ports and 29 are minor ports under the control of Gujarat Maritime Board.
  • These ports can be broadly classified into three categories :
    • Three all weather ports viz: Porbandar,Okha and Sikka with all weather direct berthing facilities.
    • Seven ports are all weather lighterage ports.
    • The remaining thirty ports are fair weather lighterage ports for sailing vessels and fishing boats.

The minor and intermediates ports of Gujarat handle about 8.5% of national shipping cargo. Nevertheless, Gujarat ports handle about 16 million tones of cargo, which account for 70% of the total cargo handled by all minor ports of India.

Draft of 8 to 10 metes are available at Porbandar. Okha and Sikka, where ships ranging from 15000 to 25000 tones are directly berthed. Except for Porbandar which handles cargo containers for fish exports, container cargo handling facilities do not exist in other ports. There is limited scope for expanding berthing facilities in the existing minor and intermediate ports.All that possible is, to enhance the handling facilities by modern equipment, which can increase the traffic from present 16 million tones to 24 million tones. Due to the inherent limitation in the existing ports, it is essential to identify potential green field sites on Gujarat coast for port development.

With major coastal based Mega cement plants coming up in Kutch and Saurashtra, cement and clinker export through sea will play a major role in marketing of cement nationally and internationally. Similarly, proximity of Gujarat coastline to Middle-East countries open up avenues for locating petroleum refineries and storage of petroleum products for hinterland consumption. Export of salt and import of coal are other major potential cargo apart from the existing items of import and export. As indicated earlier, the massive spurt in the industrialisation also opens up scope for import of industrial raw-materials and export of finished goods to the global market through ports. The vast coastline of Gujarat, also offers tremendous potential for marine fisheries and subsequent processing and exports. Over and above this, any development in the hinterland States have a direct impact on Gujarat ports.

Against this future potential, at present, the ports are being planned totally in isolation, without taking into consideration the requirements of industry, trade and commerce. No integrated plan exists to create ports of international design and status, linked with hinterland with multi-channel roads that carry cargo efficiently and other related infrastructure.

Pipavav port is an ideal location for a direct berthing port facility. Gujarat Maritime Board, alongwith a private sector company, is developing this port as a joint venture project. An estimated Rs. 260 crores is likely to be invested in Pipavav port during the coming five years,developing it into a modern port in the Saurashtra region.


Based on the above mentioned emerging scenario, the following objectives are identified for the new Port Policy.

  • To increase Gujarats share in the Export and Import sector, in national and international Trade & Commerce, in pursuance of liberalisation and globalisation policy.
  • To decongest the overburden on existing major ports on Western India to cater to the needs of increasing traffic of western and northern States, by providing efficient facilities and services and to support the countries domestic and international trade.
  • To handle 100 million tones of cargo in Gujarat Maritime waters accounting approximately for 25% Indias total cargo by 2000 AD.
  • It is estimated that 50% of total industrial investment coming to Gujarat will be port-based. To provide port facilities to promote export- oriented industries and port- based industries.
  • Taking fullest advantage of the strategic location of Gujarat coast, in the World Maritime Scenario,
    • to encourage ship building, ship repairing and estalish manufacturing facilities for Cranes, Dredgers and other Floating Crafts
    • to provide facilities for coastal shipping of passenger and cargo traffic between Kutch, Saurastra and South Gujarat and further extension of these services to important places like Bombay, Goa etc.
  • To fulfill future power requirements of Gujarat,
    • by establishing barge mounted power plants.
    • by providing exclusive port facilities for importing different kinds of power fuels, and
  • To attract private sector investment in the existing minor and intermediate ports and in the new port locations.