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Title: Can ports increase traffic while reducing inputs?: technical efficiency of Spanish Port Authorities using a directional distance function approach
Authors: Tovar De La Fe, Beatriz Erasmi 
Wall, Alan
UNESCO Clasification: 531212 Transportes y comunicaciones
Keywords: Puertos
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: 0965-8564
Journal: Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 
Abstract: The focus of this paper is on the productive efficiency of ports. We estimate a directional technology distance function using parametric techniques to analyze the production technology and technical efficiency of a set of Spanish Port Authorities observed over the period 1993-2012. Technical inefficiency is conceived as the ability of ports to simultaneously expand a given output and contract variable inputs while maintaining quasi-fixed inputs and other outputs constant. Thus, for containerized cargo we address the following question: Given the amount of quasi-fixed inputs used by the firm and given the volume of the other outputs (liquids, solids, non-containerized cargo and passenger traffic), could ports increase their containerized merchandise while simultaneously reducing their variable inputs? Similar questions are asked for solid bulk and non-containerized general cargo. Our results show evidence of technical inefficiency among the ports in our sample. In particular, if the ports operated efficiently, we find that containerized cargo could be expanded by an average of over 6.4%, with an equivalent reduction in variable inputs. Solid bulk cargo and general non-containerized cargo could be increased by 4.1% and 6.1% respectively, with corresponding reductions in variable inputs. An implication of our results is that there is ample scope for specialization on the part of ports with no increase in infrastructure costs. Given that large investments in infrastructure have been made in Spanish port over the last decade, this opens the possibility of moving towards a management model based on taking advantage of existing capacity rather than new investments.
ISSN: 0965-8564
DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2014.11.003
Source: Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice[ISSN 0965-8564],v. 71, p. 128-140
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