Kandla is a large seaport located on the north-western coast of India, in the Kachchh District of the state of Gujarat. This seaport lies 57 km south-east to the city of Bhuj. The distance to the port from the mouth of the Gulf of Kachchh on the Kandla Creek is about 90 km.
The Kandla stream was first appraised for its suitability as a port by the British Royal India Navy in 1851. However, no detailed survey was conducted by them until the year 1922. It was only in 1931 that the Port of Kandla was actually created with a single pier, but it was selected as an outlet to the Arabian Sea, post India's independence. The city of Kandla was founded at the same time by Maharao of Kutch, so as to rehabilitate refugees from Sindh after the partition of India in 1947.
After the Port of Karachi became a part of Pakistan, maritime trade in the area shifted to the Port of Mumbai. However, the facilities of this port were soon strained beyond capacity, after which the Indian Government created the West Coast Major Port Development Committee in early 1948. This committee, while studying the feasibility of building a major seaport that can replace the Port of Karachi, located a port at Kandla. The foundation stone of this new port was laid in 1952.
Inaugurated by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Port of Kandla was declared a major port in 1955. For the management of the port, the Kandla Port Trust was created by law in 1963. In 1965, the first of its kind special economic zone in India and in Asia, called Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was established. Covering 310 hectares, this biggest multiple-product special economic zone in the country is located at a distance of 9 km from the Port of Kandla.
Today, the Port of Kandla is the hub for exporting grains and importing oil to different parts of the world. Major imports entering the country through this port include petroleum, chemicals, iron and steel machinery, salt, textiles and grains.
The easiest way to travel to Kandla is to take a flight to the Kandla Airport that serves few flights plying to locations within India, including Mumbai. An alternative is to take a train to the Gandhidham Railway Station and travel to Kandla from there via road. Road transport is easily available to Kandla from the nearby town of Gandhidham, which is well-connected to other regions in the country. The best time to visit Kandla is between the months of October and March.