The increasing competitiveness of the marine transportation industry has brought about demands that ports and container terminals productivity be improved. To provide adequate supply of cargoes for the increasing traffic, ports must either expand facilities or improve efficiency of operations. Under such a competitive environment, port performance measurement is not only a powerful management tool for port operations, but also constitutes a most informative input for regional and national port planning and operation. Measuring port and container terminal productivity is an interesting issue, especially if an automated system across terminals and port is required. Amongst other methods, the efficiency of container port or terminal production can potentially be analyzed by Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) or by the Free Disposal Hull (FDH) Model. This paper aims to evaluate the efficiency of major North American container ports and terminals using DEA and FDH models. The results show that the above two techniques lead to different conclusions. Furthermore, we concluded that the availability of panel data, rather than cross sectional data, would improve the validity of the efficiency estimates derived from all applied mathematical programming techniques.


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