Major ports handled the highest cargo ever at 795 million tons: Sonowal

India’s major ports handled the highest-ever cargo of 795 million tons in 2022-23, up 10.4 percent from a year earlier, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Friday.

Speaking at an event organized by industry body FICCI, the Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways said that last fiscal year, major ports recorded the highest daily production ever at 17,239 tons, a 6 percent growth compared to 2021-22.

The minister also said that 21,846 ships were handled from major ports in the past financial year.

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

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

According to him, major ports will be developed as hydrogen hubs for handling, storing and transporting green hydrogen.

Green hydrogen/ammonia bunkers and refueling facilities are to be built in all major ports by 2035 as part of the National Hydrogen Mission, he added.

Ports of Deendayal, Paradip and VO Chidambaranar are developing infrastructure to set up hydrogen bunkers.

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

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

By 2030, at least 50 percent of all tugs will be converted to green tugs, he added.

Highlighting the achievements of India’s drinking 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 vital to 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, for our country.”

About 95 percent of India’s trade by volume and 70 percent by value is carried by sea.

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