- for the village in Estonia see Kandla, Estonia.
|Port and town|
Gate 2 at KPT, Kandla Port, Gujarat, India
|Elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|• Official||Gujarati, Hindi|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Kandla, also Kandla Port or New Kandla (Gujarati: કંડલા) is a seaport in Kutch District of Gujarat state in western India, near the city of Gandhidham. Located on the Gulf of Kutch, it is one of major ports on west coast. Kandla was constructed in the 1950s as the chief seaport serving western India, after the partition of India from Pakistan left the port of Karachi in Pakistan.
The Port of Kandla is located on the Gulf of Kutch on the northwestern coast of India some 256 nautical miles southeast of the Port of Karachi in Pakistan and over 430 nautical miles north-northwest of the Port of Mumbai (Bombay). It is the largest port of India by volume of cargo handled.
The British Royal India Navy first appraised the Kandla stream in 1851 for suitability as a port; however, they did not conduct a detailed survey until 1922. The Port of Kandla was created in 1931 with a single pier by erstwhile ruler of Kutch, Khengarji III, who personally identified the spot and also connected the port by extending the lines of Cutch State Railway from Anjar. After Indian independence in the late 1940s, the new government selected the Port of Kandla as a promising outlet to the Arabian Sea.
When the Port of Karachi was lost to Pakistan, maritime trade in the area shifted to the Port of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Mumbai's facilities were soon strained beyond capacity. In early 1948, the Indian government created the West Coast Major Port Development Committee to study the feasibility of building a major seaport to replace the Port of Karachi that went to Pakistan during partitioning. The Committee recommended locating a port at Kandla.
In 1952, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the upgradation and expansion the port on India's northwestern coast. The Port of Kandla was declared a major port in April 1955. The Kandla Port Trust was created by law in 1963 to manage the new port.
In 1998, a severe tropical cyclone hit the port. The official death toll was 1,000 but locals in the area believed it to be much higher. Most of the casualties came from illegal immigrant workers in the port itself and poor shanty towns in the region.
The Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was the first special economic zone to be established in India and in Asia. Established in 1965, the Port of Kandla SEZ is the biggest multiple-product SEZ in the country. Covering over 310 hectares, the special economic zone is just nine kilometers from the Port of Kandla. Today, the Port of Kandla is India's hub for exporting grains and importing oil and one of the highest-earning ports in the country. Major imports entering the Port of Kandla are petroleum, chemicals, and iron and steel and iron machinery, but it also handles salt, textiles, and grain. A town has grown up on the port with a school and hotel etc. Kandla is also the first Export Processing Zone in India (1965).
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