Research in Transportation Economics
Despite the growing amount of research on container-port efficiency and benchmarking, the literature on the subject is yet to provide stable and consistent results across researchers and in relation to dynamic operating and market conditions. In this paper, we formulate a number of operational hypotheses to test the sensitivity of benchmarking results to port market and operating conditions namely production scale, cargo mix, transhipment ratio, operating configurations, and working procedures. A series of data envelopment analysis (DEA) models are used to measure the operational efficiency of 420 container terminal decision-making units from 2004 till 2010. The results show that variations in operating conditions highly impact terminal efficiency and that future work on container-port performance and benchmarking should take into account the structure and mechanisms underpinning the operations of container ports and terminals.