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The Department of War Transport was formed in July, 1942 by the bifurcation of the then Department of Communications into two Department viz., (i) the Department of Posts and the Department of War Transport.
The functions allocated to the Department of War Transport included major ports, railway priorities, utilization of road & water transport, petrol rationing & producer gas, coastal shipping and the administration and development of major ports. Broadly speaking. The functions of the War Transport Department were to coordinate the demands for transport in war time. Later, the planning of exports was undertaken as a corollary to the Department's control of transport priorities.
- In the year 1957, the Department of War Transport was re-named as Ministry of Transport Communications and the Department of Transport was placed under it.
- ln the President's order of 25th January 1966, the Ministry of Transport was re- named as the Department of Transport, Shipping and Tourism in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.
- The Ministry of Transport and Aviation was bifurcated into the Ministry of Transport Shipping and the Ministry of Tourism Civil Aviation w e.f 13th March, 1967.
- The Ministry of Transport & Shipping became the Department of Surface Transport under the Ministry of Transport w.e.f. 25th September, 1985.
- The Department of Surface Transport under the Ministry of Transport was re-named as the Ministry of Surface Transport w e.f 22nd October, 1986.
- The Ministry of Surface Transport was bifurcated into two Ministries viz. Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Road Transport Highways w.e.f. 17th November, 2000.
- The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Ministry of Shipping were merged on 2nd September, 2004 into a single Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, with two Departments – Department of Shipping and Department of Road Transport & Highways.
- The Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways was again bifurcated into two independent Ministries by converting the Department of Shipping and Department of Road Transport & Highways into separate independent Ministries viz Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Road Transport Highways in 2009