In the late 1940s (around the time of Indian independence) there was little industry in or around Kakinada, and the local economy consisted mainly of agriculture and fishing. Until the early 1980s (before the fertiliser companies started their operation here), the local economy was mainly based on the textile industry, auto parts, steel industry related ancillary units, agriculture and fishery industries. Today, Kakinada’s economy has a diverse industrial base thanks to an established sea port and port based industries.
The presence of a small island called Hope Island about 5 km from Kakinada coast makes Kakinada Port a natural harbour. It is home to two ports, an anchorage port and a deep water port. Kakinada’s deep-water port is the second largest in the state after Visakhapatnam port and is the first port in the country to be built on a Public-private partnership basis (in 1996). It is operated by Kakinada Seaports Limited. Before the deep water port was built, the anchorage port was the largest of the forty minor ports operating in India. Currently both deep water port and older anchorage port co-exist. A shipyard is under construction, as a joint venture of Singapore-based Sembawang Shipyard Pvt. Ltd and Kakinada Seaports Ltd to provide vessel support services to ships plying around Kakinada port and on the East coast of India.
Vakalapudi Light house located near Vakalapudi village serves Kakinada port
Kakinada’s principal exports now include seafood (prawns, shrimp, fish) and related products, agricultural products like rice, corn, oilmeals, processed food products, chemicals, iron ore, bauxite powder and biofuel.
Imports include chemicals, edible oils, and agricultural products (e.g. wheat and sugar). The deep water port handled a cargo of 13MT during 2009–10.LARSEN&TUBRO,has chosen kakinada to build a ship yard with a worth of rupees 10 billion.