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Efficiency Analysis of Container Port Terminals

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Efficiency Analysis of Container Ports and Terminals

Qianwen Liu

A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of University College London

Centre for Transport Studies Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering University College London 2010

I, Qianwen Liu, confirm that the work presented in this thesis is my own. Where information has been derived from other sources, I confirm that this has been indicated in the thesis.

Candidate’s signature

………………………………….. Qianwen Liu


In the past two decades the steady growth of seaborne trade has resulted in the increase of container ships, container ports and their terminals. The structure of the shipping market is, moreover, continuously evolving. On the carrier side, shipping companies form consortia and alliances; on the port side, global terminal operators and dedicated container terminals are emerging. The aim of this research is to evaluate the efficiency of container ports and terminals and to study how to improve the scale efficiency of any particular port/terminal. In particular we study how certain factors influence the efficiency of container ports and terminals.

Regional container ports and global container terminals are examined based on the econometrics benchmarking method Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA). Two datasets are used, a panel dataset for 32 container ports in the North Mediterranean Sea over a nine-year period, and a cross-sectional dataset for 165 container terminals worldwide. Net-effect and gross-effect SFA models are applied to both datasets.

Technical, scale and overall efficiencies of individual ports/terminals are evaluated. Operation and investment strategies are examined for selected ports and terminals. The majority of the container ports and terminals in our North Mediterranean Sea samples are found to...

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