The Port of Tuticorin, also known as “Pearl City,” is one of India’s officially-recognized Major Ports. Traditional ship-building and pearl fishery activities have supported the city’s prosperity for centuries. Dating to the 6th Century AD, Tuticorin lies on the shores of the Gulf of Manner at the southeastern tip of India. The Port of Tuticorin is connected to Tirunelveli by both rail and road. In 1991, almost 200 thousand people lived in the Port of Tuticorin and 280 thousand lived in the metropolitan area.
The Port of Tuticorin’s economy depends on shipping, agricultural activities, salt pans, and fishing. It also has a wide range of industries, including information technology, chemicals, and power generation. With a thriving port, plentiful skilled labor, and a power generating plant, the Port of Tuticorin has also become an important business and industry center.
The Port of Tuticorin is perhaps one of the world’s oldest seaports, but it began as a small fishing village. India’s Pandyan kingdom profited from its use until the Portuguese took it over in 1548. In 1658, the Dutch captured the city, and they surrendered it to the British in 1825. The Port of Tuticorin flourished under Dutch and British rule; however, it declined when the Port of Madras emerged.
The Port of Tuticorin’s development history as a modern artificial deep-sea harbor began in 1842 when the lighthouse was built. In the 1960s, the harbor eight kilometers southeast of the original fishing village was deepened, fishing and warehousing facilities were improved, and industries grew in the Port of Tuticorin. The city was recognized as a municipality in 1866, and it received the status of corporation in 2008.
After India won independence, the Port of Tuticorin’s trade volume increased significantly. It also became well known for the high quality of its sailors and marine officers. As international and national trade increased, the Indian government approved the development of an all-weather port. In 1974, the new Port of Tuticorin was named the 10th Major Port in India and the second biggest after the Port of Mumbai. It also contains the third biggest container terminal in India (after the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai and the Port of Chennai).