Chapter 6.2 – Port Efficiency

Authors: Dr. Athanasios Pallis and Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue

Port efficiency is a multi-dimensional concept that refers to operational performance, particularly the maximization of the produced output or the production of a given output with limited possible resources. It has expanded to include additional dimensions of port performance.

1. Dimensions of Port Efficiency

Port efficiency is one of the three components of port performance, the other two being effectiveness and resilience. 

Efficiency commonly refers to the operational performance of ports and the maximization of the produced output with given resources or the production of a given output with limited possible resources. 

Operational performance measurements focus on productivity and relate to the physical quantities of items, the levels of effort expended, the scale or scope of activities, and efficiency in transforming resources into some product (or service). Indicators traditionally used to measure terminal operations efficiency (productivity) include berth occupancy, revenue per ton of cargo, capital equipment expenditure per ton of cargo, turnaround time, and the number of gangs employed to facilitate cargo operations. Such efficiency measurements span a performance continuum from maritime operations to terminal and hinterland operations. This performance is too important to be measured at the terminal level since the facilitation of cargo arriving, staying, and leaving the terminal through various bundled services is vital in integrated transportation chains. Efficiency performance is measured at the port level as well. On the one hand, the performance of different terminals might diverge. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for users to select first the port they will use and, in the next phase, the terminal.

This list of indicators used to measure port and port terminal efficiency is expanding, with port performance becoming multidimensional. Measurements of performance for efficiency-focused ports and terminals also benchmark financial, system-wide, and production and marketing activities against prior year performance and against competitors performance to deliver efficiency objectives. Measurements of the financial performance of port entities (terminal operators and many port managing bodies) and the performance of the governance model in place are essential and present in all ports. Given the significance of integrating ports into supply chains and facing environmental sustainability challenges, the list expands further. The connectivity performance (in terms of capacity, costs, and congestion) and the environmental performance of ports are also parts of a comprehensive port performance measurement, as are safety, security, and occupational health performance. Additionally, two dimensions reflecting the very essence of port presence include the performance of the port as regards market capturing and its socioeconomic contribution.

2. Operational Efficiency

A. The port efficiency continuum

The efficiency of a port is part of a continuum that includes maritime, terminal, and hinterland operations. These dimensions are interrelated since inefficiencies in one dimension are likely to impact the others. For instance, issues in terminal operations are most likely to negatively impact maritime and hinterland operations with delays.

  • Maritime operations. What happens at the port foreland can impact its performance, mainly because of ship delays. The efficiency of maritime access is a component of port performance, which includes average anchorage time (M1), where ships are waiting for an available berthing slot. Long waiting times at anchorage can be the outcome of a lack of berthing slots able to accommodate specific ship classes (e.g., draft and cargo type) as well as terminal productivity issues. Depending on their site and configuration, ports can have complex in-port navigation requiring pilotage and tugs through access channels and turn basins. The average ship turnaround time (or ship dwell time; M2) represents the time it takes to service the ship once it has docked. Enhancing such a system is clearly to the benefit of maritime shipping companies.
  • Terminal operations. Represent the most common performance indicator to assess port efficiency. For container terminal operations, this commonly involves several key operations. Crane performance (T1) is a common bottleneck in terms of the average number of crane movements per hour. For maritime shipping companies, this is a crucial factor since it is related to the amount of time their ships will spend at the port. How cargo (in containers) is brought back and forth to the storage yard is also a component of port performance and is often related to the number of movements per crane hour. Many container terminals use holsters or straddle carriers for such operations. Container storage yard operations involve stacking and related stacking density, an important variable determining terminal capacity. The average yard dwell time (T2) for inbound, outbound, and transshipment cargo is also a common indicator. When trucks enter the terminal to pick up or drop off cargo, space and equipment are required. This is often a critical bottleneck for trucking companies since it dictates the amount of time they will spend at the terminal, reflected in the average truck turnaround time (T3). Gate performance concerns the efficiency of tasks related to document processing and security inspections. A truck is admitted and cleared to pick up or drop cargo at the facility. Gates used above their capacity are characterized by long truck lines waiting to be processed and enter the terminal for the cargo they are already chartered to handle. Therefore, the average gate waiting time (T4) can be used as a performance indicator. For terminals having on-dock rail facilities, the performance of the rail loading/unloading equipment can also be an important component of the terminal’s performance.
  • Hinterland operations. The efficiency of transport operations beyond the terminal is usually not considered a port performance indicator. It involves all the transport and distribution activities servicing the port’s customers, such as an inland port. However, for practical purposes, it generally focuses on inland operations adjacent to the port area (often labeled as the back of port). The key factor in hinterland operations is the capacity of the local road network in areas adjacent to the port. Congestion and bottlenecks at street intersections impair the port’s performance in many of the supply chain management strategies of the port’s customers. Some ports have near-dock rail yards that must be serviced through the terminals’ gates. In many gateway ports, transloading activities that transfer the contents of maritime containers into domestic truckloads (or domestic containers), or vice-versa, are an element of the performance of hinterland operations. Port authorities have an oversight, either directly or indirectly, of port efficiency.

While terminal operations are usually concessioned to private operators, port authorities tend to have direct oversight of maritime operations and several elements of hinterland operations, such as local roads directly connected to the port terminals, some of which are on land owned by the port. Although cities are not directly involved in port operations and commonly have limited, if any, jurisdiction on port land, they commonly provide and maintain crucial road infrastructure connecting the port with its hinterland. They also bear many of the externalities of port operations, namely local congestion. Therefore, the port authority and the city are important stakeholders in the port performance continuum.

B. Container terminal efficiency

Ports measure performance to monitor their activities, check their efficiency, compare present with past performance, and compare current with targetted performance. Based on the outcome of these exercises, they adopt any necessary alignments to structures and strategies (and/or targets) to improve performance. The performance measurement output can also be used to promote the port’s business.

The questions that each port managing entity and terminal operator has to answer are what to measure, how to measure, and how to use this measurement. In general, the list of indicators that ports and terminal operators use to measure their performance includes:

Production measurements differentiate between traffic measures, where quantity is the temporal unit of reference, and throughput measures, where movements are the reference unit.

Regarding the ship/port interface, the (un)loading of each container generates a throughput that exceeds the absolute number of the containers that are unloaded or loaded on the vessel. Several additional container movements occur when the container arrives at the terminal, so each traffic container might generate one to three additional movements. At the quay transfer, what is counted includes movements to stack inbound and outbound local containers at the yard, discharged transshipment containers, loaded containers, and shifts and restows via the container yard. Beyond the throughput (un)loaded at the port from/to vessels, quay throughput, and yard movements, the terminal-related performance also includes indicators related to the port gate throughput, such as the number of vehicles reaching the port collecting full and empty containers. Terminal performance improves with the presence of vessels that both deliver and collect containers. Throughput imbalances usually negatively impact terminal performance.

C. Performance and the upscale of port operations

The increase in vessel size has changed the scale of port operations across the world. Scale enlargement in vessel size takes place in different shipping markets, redefining port and terminal performance requirements. The most illustrative examples are the cases of container and cruise vessels.

In the container world, consecutive rounds of container scale increases led to the introduction of ships beyond 20,000 TEU. This has resulted in an overall upscaling across the main East-West trade routes, with large vessels cascading to North-South routes. The largest container vessels operate on the Far East-Europe routes, calling in ports in the Gulf and the Indian Sub-Continent (ISC). The biggest vessels might not call in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or Oceania, yet, since 2010, the size of the maximum container vessel calling has doubled in all regions of the world. The implications are not uniform, given the variation in the scale of container operations in world ports. Based on vessel size, three distinctive groups of container ports exist. Larger vessels (18,000-24,000 TEU) call at selected major hubs offering transshipment services. The second group of world ports hosts the New Panamax standard (12,500 TEU), and the third one hosts vessels around Panamax size (4,500 TEU).

The increase in the size of vessels calling at a port is accompanied by a lower number of calls for transporting the same amount of cargo. The trend accelerates further with the reorganization of liner shipping in alliances that allow cargo-sharing agreements, in turn enabling the scheduling of fully loaded container vessels sailing fewer voyages. In retrospect, ports and their terminals need to increase their productivity by redefining operations.

3. Market Capture

The levels of market capture are fundamental port performance indicators. With the monitoring of trends per market and structure having a high practical relevance, many such indicators are already used by the industry. The estimation of market capture levels relates to:

  • Maritime traffic. Throughput levels per type of cargo served by the ports and passenger movements served in a given period (year/quarter/month).
  • Vessel traffic. Number of different types of seagoing vessels (cargo and passengers) reaching the port in a given time period.
  • Call size. The average and maximum size of the seagoing vessel calling at the port. This indicator is a combination of the two previous indicators.

Maritime traffic monitoring is used worldwide and includes the collection of data on the following categories of cargoes:

  • Total tonnage (metric tons).
  • Total general cargo (tons).
  • Total liquid bulk (tons).
  • Total dry bulk (tons).
  • Containers (TEU).
  • Passengers (coastal shipping) (number).
  • Cruise Passengers (number).

There are some common standards in maritime traffic measurements. Container traffic is reported in TEU (20-feet-equivalent units) or the number of containers handled. The most useful of these reports are those detailing these numbers per container category, such as loaded/empties, local/transit/transshipment, dangerous goods, and reefers. Reports of container traffic in tons are occasional, though this indicator is of limited relevance beyond the statistical records. Throughput in the categories liquid bulk, dry bulk, conventional general cargo, and Ro/Ro is reported in tons. Still, there are cases where different definitions exist in the measurement of throughput. Port authorities (or terminal operators) do not necessarily use the same individual traffic categories or measurement units. Some ports use net tonnage (net weight of the cargo), others use gross tonnage (the net weight plus first packaging), and others use gross plus tonnage (gross tonnage plus tar weight of the load unit). Differences also exist among ports when assigning cargo volumes on trailers to either Ro/Ro or conventional general cargo. Some ports add the Ro-Ro based container traffic to the container throughput, while other ports only count Lo-Lo (Lift on-Lift off) operations when drawing up their container statistics.

Some additional performance indicators apply for each shipping market:

  • The separate monitoring of the trends of imported and exported cargoes is relevant as they represent a clear indication of the capacity of the port to facilitate specific supply chains.
  • In containerized trade, ports measure different types of boxes, with the other categories including sea-sea transshipment, import/export cargoes, and local cargoes, as well as the number of empty containers and dangerous goods. They also measure the number of containers moved per size (20 feet or 40 feet container) and container type (e.g., standard, reefer).
  • In the cruise passenger market, ports monitor the number of transit passenger movements (passengers embarking/disembarking for a few hours) and homeport passengers (passengers commencing and concluding their cruise at the port).

Vessel traffic refers to monitoring more than the aggregate number of vessel calls or the type of cargo vessels calling at the port. The average and maximum size of ships calling at the port also need to be monitored. Whenever possible, compared with trends in those ports considered as competitors, they represent indicators of the capacity that a port has demonstrated to host particular types of vessels. With different maritime markets having their requests, ports monitor the calls differently by:

  • Container ships.
  • Breakbulk ships.
  • Dry Bulk ships.
  • Wet Bulk carriers.
  • LNG carriers.
  • LPG carriers.
  • Passenger ship (coastal shipping).
  • Cruise ships.

Additional performance indicators related to market capture are being monitored. They incentivize ports to further analyze throughput in the light of their capacity and thus reach a comprehensive understanding of the potential in capturing further calls and throughput. The list of such additional indicators includes:

  • Share of the market in the port region that is served by the port.
  • Modal split of cargo moving in/out to the port.
  • Utilization of the warehousing and distribution capacities of the port.
  • Cargo served (TEU and/or tons) per hectare.
  • GPD growth vs. tons per type of cargo.

4. Connectivity Performance

The connectivity performance of a port relates to its capacity to integrate within maritime supply chains and the operational function of a port as a node in transport networks. This dimension of port performance requires the development of a list of different types of indicators, aiming to measure the performance of the port, and its various activities, within a supply chain perspective:

  • Maritime connectivity. The connectivity of a port with container services (liner shipping) and other regular services (i.e. Ro/Ro connectivity) to third destinations. Relevant indicators include the frequency of services, the number of operators, the deployed capacity, and the number of ports/countries that maintain direct links with the port.
  • Intermodal connectivity. The connectivity of a port with intermodal container transport services to and from hinterland destinations. These indicators might be split into sub-indicators referring to how well a port is connected with different transport modes (rail; road; barges). Relevant indicators include the frequency of services per transport mode, truck turnaround time (i.e. in minutes), and the number of rail/truck/warehousing companies linked with the port.
  • On-time performance (sea-going vessels).
  • On-time performance (road, rail, inland waterways).
  • Mean-time customs clearance.
  • Availability of Port Community Systems.

Industry-level initiatives, such as the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI), and the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), provide useful evidence of the connectivity performance of ports, either at the port or country level.

5. Environmental Performance

The environmental performance of any port is a crucial dimension of its overall performance. The expansion of port activities and the increase of environmental externalities contribute to this trend. Market enlargement results in a greater socioeconomic importance of the environmental performance of ports, the greater sensitivity of public opinion, and the development of related legislation aiming to advance and make mandatory, in certain respects, mitigation of environmental externalities produced by port activities. For ports, environmental sustainability has become a factor of competitiveness.

There are many drivers for port investments in environmental performance. At the top of the list is regulatory compliance. Motives leading a port entity to improve its environmental performance include responding to societal pressures, the resulting direct economic benefits, corporate conscience at either the development and planning stage, improving operations, and gaining competitive advantage. Most likely, each port has its own motivations depending on the executive management philosophy and its local socio-political context.

The priorities ports assign to individual environmental issues change with time and as conditions evolve. In the European context, port authorities have developed a periodically revised hierarchy of the top ten environmental priorities, aiming to benchmark key areas of port environmental performance. In 2020, air quality was the top environmental priority, followed by climate change, which first reached the top-10 list of European ports environmental priorities in 2016. Energy efficiency is the third priority for ports. These priorities have shifted with climate change emerging as the epicenter. It was the tenth environmental priority in 2017 and became the second priority for ports in 2020.

There has been an apparent increase in the number of ports facing operational challenges due to climate change. Thus, they are interested in monitoring these trends to strengthen the resilience of their existing infrastructure to adapt to climate change and consider them when planning the development of their future infrastructure projects.

The culture and practice of identifying, monitoring, and reporting environmental performance indicators are reasonably widely established. Several parameters have been added to the ever-present considerations of the environmental impact assessments for port development projects, such as dredged material management, occupation of natural areas, port enlargement in reclaimed land from the sea. The environmental performance of ports and their expanding activities relates to several parameters. The most substantial include carbon footprint, waste reception and handling, water treatment, and the environmental management practices endorsed by the managing entities of the port or any service providers that are involved.

The necessity for measuring these parameters is commonly accepted by a wide range of ports and maritime organizations. Most of the largest ports have an environmental policy in place and an inventory of significant environmental aspects. Monitoring becomes a managerial issue, such as managing contaminated soils, water quality, air quality, sediment quality, identifying the source of pollution, and following global standards.

Measuring its environmental performance is one of the most complex exercises a port can undertake. Quantitative and qualitative data are required, with some collected through costly surveys and with standardization of the indicators still under development. For instance, the 2020 environmental report of ESPO included more than 60 different benchmark indicators used by European ports. Besides, each port has its characteristics, so they use individual exercises corresponding to their structures and challenges.

Although harmonizing tools, methodologies, and techniques remain a challenge, the standardization of environmental practices and performance monitoring is becoming common practice. In Europe, port authorities, have developed a self-diagnosis method that acts as a good practice checklist. This port environmental review system provides an international quality standard of environmental management specifically dedicated to ports. In this context, environmental performance indicators are split into two categories (Figure X):

  • Operational performance indicators (OPI) provide information about the environmental performance of port operations.
  • Management performance indicators (MPI) provide information about the management’s efforts to influence an organization’s environmental performance.
  • Environmental condition indicators (ECI) provide information about the local, regional, national, or global condition of the environment.

Environmental management is an additional dimension of measuring port performance. Environmental performance measurement is closely related to the proper reporting practice. The link is so crucial that it might be argued that environmental management is an integral part of the measurement of environment-related performance. The publicly available environment reports and the communication of environmental policy to stakeholders are tools for involving stakeholders in monitoring trends in environmental performance and developing initiatives towards future improvements. For instance, this communication can involve a defined procedure for consulting with the local community on the port’s environmental program.

An additional group of port performance indicators worth mentioning is occupational health, safety, and security indicators. While for occupational health, there is a wider acceptance of its use, the same does not apply to safety and security. Ports increasingly implement these metrics, not least because current international standards and conventions adopted by international legislation (e.g., the International Maritime Organisation SOLAS Convention) underline the need to evaluate the performance of ports in these areas as well.

6. Financial Performance

The financial performance of a port stands as an additional type of performance that is regularly monitored. Its evaluation can offer insights into the bottom-line financial impact of the strategies endorsed by the managing body and by the managerial and operational priorities that have been set. Financial performance indicators contribute to assessing whether the implementation of the specific choices has been successful or if corrective initiatives should come into play.

Focusing on financial aspects and criteria to assess port performance may not be sufficient to reveal the present or future success of port strategies. Port performance depends on a broad spectrum of factors. Yet, the financial evaluation of port performance bears its own merits for many reasons. Financial appraisal directly reflects quantitative and qualitative managerial decisions and policy implications, with such decisions also reflected in the financial results. Financial profitability plays a central role in evaluating managerial efficiency as well as successful asset and capital utilization. Then, port financial performance is a critical issue for stakeholders and market participants since it reflects growth prospects and economic robustness. Moreover, port management is judged on the grounds of corporate value maximization rather than simple profit attainment. Especially in the case of port managing entities listed on stock markets, robust financial performance is expected to result in an enhanced firm market value with positive implications for shareholders’ wealth.

It might be argued that efficient operations do not necessarily translate to a profitable financial outcome. A financial assessment is better regarded as part of a balanced scorecard approach, considering financial and non-financial performance dimensions. The latter includes efficient operating procedures and user satisfaction, internal business processes, learning, and growth perspectives. By including the interests of management, customers (port users), employees, and equity owners simultaneously, such an approach allows a comprehensive evaluation of port performance. Port financial performance criteria are still among the most considered parts of port performance for managers and investors.

The financial accounts of ports provide the data for a standardized financial evaluation. The selected summary of key financial ratios might be compared and contrasted to a benchmark level that has been set beforehand. Although arbitrary, such a benchmark ratio level is commonly chosen based on standard empirical practice, related to cumulative conventional corporate wisdom for (conservative) empirical valuation of the firm’s financial decisions.

Focusing strictly on profit maximization policies alone may lead to a partial analysis. Comparing net profits against operating profits, in some cases, net profits might appear to be higher than operating profits. This outcome is mainly associated with the realization of extraordinary one-off earnings that result in a slight improvement in bottom-line results. Improved port profitability arising from irregular factors might lead to skepticism about the robustness of ports’ long-term growth potential. For example, port profitability might be due to a lack of investments. Economic cycles experienced in the shipping industry affect the port business as well. As a result, profit margins might be constrained, leading to considerable earnings volatility. For these reasons, it is not worth monitoring the financial indicators of any given port alone. Instead, the focus should be on the trends observed in ports in the region and beyond.

Financial results are also worth examining in light of the operating growth rates of each market the port serves. Containers, bulk cargoes, car terminals, cruise, and coastal shipping are all markets with different dynamics and diverse revenue and profitability margins.

In any case, the financial performance of the port is evaluated based on the priorities that the port managing entity has set, with these priorities spanning profit generation through throughput maximization and value creation for the local economy. To extract the greatest financial return, profit-oriented companies focus on measures of asset utilization. The purpose of improved operations is to expand the gross margin extracted. Measurements of performance for profit-focused ports tend to benchmark financial, system-wide, and production and marketing activities against prior year performance and against competitor performance to deliver efficiency objectives. When priority is given to maximizing throughput or adding value, profit generation might be of secondary importance. Balanced or deficit financial accounts are considered a healthy situation as long as they are accompanied by port users’ satisfaction and value generation for stakeholders.

7. Port Governance Performance

Governance performance measurement is a comparatively novel exercise, emerging as more critical following the progress and diversity of port governance reforms. This comparatively novel performance measurement allows a better understanding of the decisions undertaken by those responsible for port management, and it contributes towards the better management of a given port. A less sophisticated exercise in terms of data complexity largely depends on the realization of its importance by the managing port entity and the setting of priorities regarding which parameters of governance should be prioritized. Dimensions of governance performance that are worth measuring include:

  • Serving port governance targets. The extent that the governance model in place is advancing the main target(s) set by port.
  • Port cluster integration. The advancement of the expansion and the integration of the port cluster.
  • Port governance transparency. The levels of reporting verifiable information about the operations in ways that enable stakeholders, including the public sector, to gain knowledge and be involved in the decision-making process.
  • Autonomous management. The extent that the port managing body maintains and improves its capacity to act autonomously in developing and implementing its strategies.

In all cases, the selected performance measurement indicators need to be realistic and workable, providing meaningful information to the port authority or any other entity involved in the management of the port and all the related stakeholders.

Transparency refers to port governing entities making visible, meaningful information, enabling stakeholders to gain access to the operations and structures of a given port. The devolution of port management to more autonomous, frequently corporatized ports and related entities aims to reach the reform goals through increased transparency. Transparency in port governance is an expectation associated with accountability, responsibility, trust, inclusivity, legitimacy, justification, good governance, and socially responsible outcomes. It is also linked with improved performance as it enables the comparison of a port’s stated goals with its actual performance and supports the enhancement of performance by comparing results with those of other ports in the same market.

With ports being multifaceted entities, transparency is a multidimensional concept associated with information flows, formal disclosure policies, publication approaches, discussions, and meetings with stakeholders, the related governmental departments, and the general public. Transparency applies to the various stages of a decision-making process, from the conceptualization to the initiation of port development, operation, and management strategies, the planning details of the decided actions (i.e., business plans, master plans, port works, environmental impact assessments, and governance resolutions), and then during the implementation phase, and the evaluation of the produced outcomes that could result in a restart of port reform. The levels of transparency at each of these stages define the involvement and contribution of service providers, users, and stakeholders, determining the effectiveness of the decisions taken.

Four different dimensions need to be considered to realize whether the existing levels of transparency facilitate improvements in the governance, and ultimately the performance, of a given port:

  • First is the visibility of information, such as the degree to which information is released and can be found with relative ease. A characteristic of transparency is the degree of completeness of the information. For instance, a summarized unaudited financial report makes the financial results of a port visible. Still, it does not reveal a complete picture, and without the auditor’s opinion, it may not be considered verifiable.
  • An additional dimension of transparency is inferability, which refers to the quality of the disclosed information and data, and the extent to which information can be used to draw accurate conclusions.
  • The third dimension is verifiability. With transparency being a matter of information disclosure, the quality and quantity of information permit one to observe organizational action fully and provide a means of solving organizational and societal problems by improving the effectiveness and quality of transparency efforts. Not all information that is visible is verifiable or even intelligible.
  • The fourth dimension is performativity. This is the extent to which transparency enactment (i.e., acts of making things visible) stands as a process with (un)intended dynamics that induce action, such as agreements, conflicts, tensions, and negotiations, leading to the improvement of management in organizational settings.

Decision-making transparency differs depending on whether the model is a private, corporatized, or public port. The governance model must balance the diverse expectations of several stakeholders. The challenge in hybrid models (those featuring selected elements of public and private models), is that the reporting structure may not be clear, as the role of shareholder (private) or taxpayer (public) may not be adequately articulated in the governing legislation, regulations, or by-laws. Consequently, transparency in ports varies across regions and governance models and requires more than the publication and disclosure of information.

The transparency level of a port authority is frequently imposed by national legislation and regulatory mechanisms, which are subject to the cultural dynamics of the political economy within which they are embedded. Publicly accountable organizations have to be available for the general public to assess the rationale behind certain decisions and allow stakeholders to participate in the oversight process, making the board of directors and management accountable for outcomes. The information has to be timely, available, understandable, and has to be an accurate representation of what that organization is accountable for.

8. Socio-Economic Performance 

Indicators such as direct employment and direct gross added value provide some evidence of the socioeconomic contribution of a port or a port system. Other indicators revealing the socioeconomic impacts of a port include indirect employment, indirect gross added value, and fiscal revenue generated by the port.

Monitoring the socioeconomic performance of a port allows the involved authorities to improve the planning, financing, and funding of port infrastructure. Employment, added value, and private investments in ports are economic impact indicators resulting from (public) investments in port infrastructure. If this (public) investment is made efficiently and effectively, the outcome is optimized allocation of resources, resulting in better socioeconomic performance. Socioeconomic indicators can be used to evaluate the mechanisms and principles underlying relevant decisions.

While these are significant dimensions of port performance, their measurement is commonly part of ad hoc exercises, which are occasionally part of port-initiated projects. This is partly because socio-economics indicators are strongly linked to data availability that remains mainly outside the strategic control of the port authority or a port operator. There is no real pressure to measure the socioeconomic impact of port operations from stakeholders who are more focused on other dimensions of port performance. The dependence of these indicators on resources for compiling or measuring data (either extensive annual surveys or annual account databases) and quality and consistency control of input data should not be underestimated.


  • Brooks, M.R., Knatz G., Pallis A.A. and Wilmsmeier G. (2020). Transparency in Port Governance: Seaport Practices. PortReport No 5.
  • European Sea Ports Organisation (2020). ESPO Environmental Report 2020. Brussels: ESPO. 
  • Pallis A.A. and Syriopoulos, T. (2007). Port Governance Models: Α Financial Evaluation of Greek Port Restructuring. Transport Policy, 14(2), 232-246.