The World Bank and Port Performance

The World Bank Group

The World Bank already started to report on port indicators in the early 1990s, focusing also on operational issues as it proposed three broad categories of indicators: (1) Asset performance indicators, (2) Operational performance indicators, and (3) Financial performance indicators. A 1993 report only proposed the indicators but did not include any data on specific world ports.

In a 2016 report on the performance of container ports in South Asia (i.e. main ports in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, and Bangladesh), the World Bank reported and compared data on operational indicators such as average turnaround time, average pre-berthing waiting time and the average percentage of idle time at berth.

A well-known, more general indicator published by the World Bank is the Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The World Bank also provides an online tool to show the evolution in the quality of port infrastructure in a country (1=extremely underdeveloped to 7=well developed and efficient by international standards) and compare this figure with other countries. The quality of port infrastructure is one factor (as part of transport infrastructure) in the Global Competitiveness Index developed by the World Economic Forum.

The World Bank is also very active in port governance and reform aspects and their related port performance dimension. The Port Reform Toolkit (now in its second version) is a well-known online set of documents aimed to provide policymakers and practitioners with effective decision support in undertaking sustainable and well-considered reforms of public institutions in developing countries.

A 2017 World Bank Viewpoint on “Achieving Full and Effective Corporatization of Port Authorities” also delivered detailed insight on port governance.

In recent years, the World Bank has published several reports on maritime networks, port efficiency and hinterland connectivity, such as the 2019 report on the Mediterranean. In cooperation with other organisations, the World Bank is also advancing the development of other port-related performance metrics related to environmental issues, digital transformation and port time. In 2021, the World Bank launched the Container Port Performance Index (CPPI), which was developed in co-operation with IHS Markit.