Water transport of India is divided into two types. These are Inland Water Transport and Ocean or Sea Transport.
Inland Water Transport:
Inland waterways include transport through navigable rivers and canals. Different rivers of India possess 5000 kilometers of navigable waterways but we use only 1700 km Of it. We use boats and steamers in land waterways. Canal water-ways are not in a satisfactory condition. Out of 4300 km of canal ways 485 km are suitable for motor boat and out of that 331 kms are actually used for motor transport.
Among the different navigable rivers of India, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and their sub-rivers, the Krishna, the Mahanadi, the Narmada and the Tapti are important. Bumkimham Canal of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu and some canals of Kerala have occupied prominent place in canal ways. States like Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Orissa use their inland waterways in a more intensive manner.
Sea or Ocean Transport:
The length of coastal area of India is nearly 6100 km Navigation along the coastal places and foreign countries take place with the help of ships. 55 shipping companies are operating for ship transport. Shipping Corporation of India is the only nationalised Company and it helps both in external trade and coastal trading.
Sea transport takes place with help of 11 important ports and 165 other small and medium ports. Different important ports are Calcutta, Haldia, Paradeep, Visakhapatnam and Tutikorin in east and Kandala, Mumbai, Marmagoa, Mangalore and Cochin in the west.
External trade of India takes place mainly through four important sea routes. India establishes trade relationship with the countries of Europe ”continent through Suez route. India establishes trade relationship with western African countries and South American countries through Uttamasha Cape route. India establishes trade relationship with South East Asia, Japan, the U.S.A. and Canada through Singapore sea route and establishes trade relationship with Australia route.