Maritime trade has been and even continues to account for about a lion's share of India's total cargo volumes. Despite the growth of multimodal transport (by land, water and air), shipping still continues to be the major mode of transport in the bulk carriage of country's overseas trade. In view of this vital role of shipping, in the first four decades of independence, under the initiative of planned development and active government support, India's shipping and port sector saw dramatic growth in their performance to build adequate national fleet, in keeping up with the transport of overseas cargo. However, the onset of economic liberalization in 1991 has given rise to many new dimensions in the development of the shipping and port sector of the country with a significant redefinition of shipping and port services, in response to the new global trend patterns. For instance, it has also established the new era of containerization in the mode of cargo delivery from the dominance of the era of bulk and break-bulk trade during the decade of sixties and seventies. Moreover, as global competition increases, in response to this emerging trade patterns within this country, India's volume of traffic growth also increases manifold. So, India's shipping and port sectors need, significantly, to build up and furnish their capacity by increasing the frequency of this mode of transport i.e. the growth of the national overseas fleet to meet this surging demand. This paper, therefore, have focused on this role of shipping in such rising overseas trade, with a view to examine the shipping performance (the growth of overseas fleet) in response to the growing overseas trade at all ports of India during the period (1999-2000 to 2008-2009), in terms of both a mathematical model and a graphical representation. Finally, it concludes that the absolute overseas trade, being highly import dependent, have led to a more or less stagnant performance in overseas shipping, owing to the lack of the adequate growth of absolute overseas exports during this period. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.