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).
Located some 90 kilometers from the mouth of the Gulf of Kachchh on the Kandla Creek, the Port of Kandla was opened as a natural deep-water harbor in the 1930s to serve the hinterland of and beyond the state of Gujarat.
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. 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 India, 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 new port on India's northwestern coast. The Port of Kandla was declared a major port in 1955. The Kandla Port Trust was created by law in 1963 to manage the new port.
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. This self-sufficient port is one of the highest-earning ports in the country. Major imports entering the Port of Kandla are petroleum, chemicals, and iron and steel machinery, but it also handles salt, textiles, and grain.