A cell to look after the transportation facilities to the islands was initially established at Calicut, in Kerala the nearest state during the year 1967. It was only a facilitating agency and not an establishment. With the increase in the transportation requirements as well as facilities the need for a full fledged department for the administration to run the shipping sector became essential. Therefore, a Department was established during the year 1980 with the Port Officer as the Departmental Head at Kavaratti. The Secretary Port and the Administrator supervises the higher level activities of the Department above the Port Officer. The Department has units in all the islands as well as in Kochi and Calicut with sufficient number of staff of various categories. The island units are provided with the required infrastructure in human resource as well as machinery. There are Pablo Boats equipped with the latest engines, mechanised as well as dumb barges, tugs and a fleet of small boats. The Port units are well connected with the most advanced and high tech communication facilities like VHF, HF etc. Port Control Towers are there in all islands except Bitra, the smallest island, which can communicate even with the Kerala Coast and manned day and night. An electronic booking system for registration of the tickets for inter island and mainland journeys is in the anvil which is expected to commence within a year or two. The issue of tickets to the ships have already been computerised. Though advance booking from Kochi or Calicut has not been possible yet, tickets can be availed from the respective islands to mainland well in advance as per the published voyage schedules.
The Department in the Headquarter has been classified into three technical sections to look after the Passenger Service, cargo Service and Mechanical requirements. While the Mechanical Section is headed by an Assistant Engineer, the Welfare Officer looks after the Operational Wing I. Operation Wing II is headed by the Welfare cum Administrative Officer. The Department has a full fledged office with sufficient number of clerical as well technical staff at Kochi. Deputy Director, Supply and Transport supervises this office and coordinate with the headquarter island. There are four NDB (Non Directional Beacon) Units in four islands, viz. Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Andrott and Kadmat to facilitate the helicopter operation.
Kavaratti, the headquarter islands has a helibase while other islands have small helipads where 9 passenger capacity Helicopters can land and take off. Agatti island, which is the gateway to the renowned tourist resort "Bangaram" has an aerodrome where Dornier flights normally operate. Refueling facilities are available at Agatti, Kavaratti and Minicoy.