British ports provide a “laboratory” of mixed ownership enterprises. This paper applies stochastic frontier models to test the relative efficiency of public compared with private enterprises. The finding is supportive of the view that efficiency gains from privatisation may be limited if the change involves the transfer of ownership from the public to the private sector only.
Topic: 5.3 Ports and Canals
Improvements at one port can attract cargo from neighbouring ports. Large quantities of coal exports from the North Appalachian coalfields might by transferred between the competing ports of Baltimore and Norfolk.
Where cruise ships are given pre-emptive priority over cargo ships, increased cruise traffic may result in a net loss of welfare.
Maximisation of net social economic surplus by each port in a system gives much the same result as centralised minimisation of total costs. But competition results in suboptimal allocation of resources.
Dynamic programming is used to allocate cargo among ports and to decide when and where to invest. It is found that optimum port charges cover costs of investment.
Economies of size mean that only one UK port is included on a route integrated with Europe. Southampton, Thames, Felixstowe and Immingham are all well sited, but Southampton has done best in supplying the new facilities needed.
The authors present a model based on nonlinear programming techniques to plan future expansion in the congested harbours of Taiwan. The aim is to secure optimal flows of goods through the harbours, and to consider the interests of the various inland regions.
The projected deepening and widening of the Suez Canal would be economically beneficial both to Egypt and to the users (including the oil-producing countries, the oil companies, the shipping industry and the consuming countries). The authors reach this conclusion after reviewing the estimated cost in relation to the quantities of Middle East oil going to northwestern and to southern Europe, comparative costs of transporting it by the Cape route and by existing and projected pipelines, and future revenue under possible new toll systems.