Waterways are the most important means of transporting bulky and heavy goods. It is a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly means of transport. Water transport in India can be divided into inland waterways and oceanic waterways.
Water Transport in India
The following waterways have been declared as national waterways by the government:
- The River Ganga between Allahabad and Haldia
- The River Brahmaputra between Sadiya and Dhubri
- The West Coast Canal in Kerala
- Apart from the Ganga and the Brahmaputra, Godavari, Krishna and Buckingham Canal and East–West Canal are important inland waterways.
Oceanic Waterways in India
- India is a peninsular country with a long coastline of 7517 km. It has 12 major seaports and 187 minor seaports. Seaports handle over 80% of all cargo traffic. Some major seaports in India are
- Mumbai Port is the largest port in the country. Jawaharlal Nehru Port was built to decongest the Mumbai Port. Apart from various other goods, Mumbai Port deals with mineral oil and dry cargo.
- Mormugao Port in Goa is an important iron ore-exporting port in the country. It is a natural harbor and occupies the fifth position in total traffic handled.
- Kolkata is an inland riverine port. Haldia Port was developed on the River Hooghly to reduce pressure on the Kolkata Port.
- Paradip Port is located on the coast of Odisha and handles iron ore and coal.
- Vishakhapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh is the deepest landlocked port that handles crude oil and petroleum products.
- Chennai is one of the oldest artificial ports in the country. It is next to Mumbai in trading activities. It handles petroleum products, crude oil, fertilizers, iron ore, and dry cargo. 7. Tuticorin Port in Tamil Nadu has a natural harbor and mainly handles coal, salt, edible salt, dry cargo, and petroleum products.
- Kandla Port is a tidal port located in Gujarat. It handles crude oil, petroleum products, edible oil, food grains, cotton, and salt.
- New Mangalore in Karnataka exports iron ore of Kudremukh and imports petroleum products, fertilizers, and edible oils.
- Kochi Port is located in the southwestern part of the country. It has been developed alongside a natural harbor. It handles the export of tea, coffee, and spices and the imports of petroleum oil and fertilizers.
Advantages of Water Transport in India
- It is the cheapest means of transport.
- It is suitable for carrying heavy and bulky materials.
- It is a fuel-efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport.
- It is safe and has less traffic in comparison to road and air transport.
Disadvantages of Water Transport in India
- It is dependent on the weather.
- It involves long hours of travel which cause sickness.
- It is limited to areas where rivers are navigable and where an oceanic route exists
Also, Read Transport