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Better infrastructure and operational efficiency may raise the share of total cargo handled by minor ports in the country to 45 percent in two years from the current 39 percent, some reports suggest.
The share of major ports in total cargo handling may decline because they suffer from capacity constraints.
While the major ports in the country controlled 561 million tonne (mn t) of cargo in 2011-12, minor ports handled nearly 350 mn t of cargo during the period, about 39 percent of the total cargo handled at the ports.
Major ports in the country, including Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai Port and Chennai Port, have been struggling from capacity constraints and lack of modernisation.
Expansion plans at major ports have hit a roadblock owing to lack of interest from private port operators and inefficiency by port officials.
A decade ago, the country's 12 major ports handled more than 90 percent of the cargo. But now minor ports are giving stiff competition owing to better infrastructure.
Among the minor ports in the country, Adani group-controlled Adani Port and Special Economic Zone, Maersk group-promoted APM terminal and Essar group-controlled Essar Ports are in a dominant position. These three ports controll over half of the share of the minor ports in the country. While Pipavav and Essar Ports handled more than 100 mn t together, Adani Port handled nearly 70 mn t.