Private Sector Participation in Asian Ports

Kevin Cullinane, Dong-Wook Song, Teng-Fei Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Asian container ports suffer from a number of problems including insufficient port and/or terminal
    capacity, inefficient management and bureaucratic administration. This may be due in part to the fact
    that the majority of the region’s ports are controlled and/or operated by public entities.
    To deal with these problems, port authorities of a number of countries in the region have launched
    programmes that aim to attract private capital into both the existing and new facilities. As a consequence,
    these schemes have kick-started a revolutionary new operating milieu where inter- and even
    intra-port competition is rife. In many instances, this has engendered the perception that organisational
    restructuring (including privatisation) is not only desirable, but necessary.
    A key claim made with respect to organisational reforms is that the transformation of ownership from
    public to private sector will improve economic efficiency, as well as general welfare. Associated economic
    theories and existing empirical studies, however, fail to establish clear-cut evidence supporting
    this claim. Indeed, econometric analysis of the relative productive efficiency of the port sector pre- and
    post-privatisation seems to suggest that ownership itself does not seem to be categorically related to
    efficiency in port operations. It may well be the case, as proposed by the UN Conference on Trade and
    Development (UNCTAD, 1995a), that the apparent absence of a clear-cut theoretical and empirical
    relationship may reflect, to some extent, the unique socio-political situation in which these business
    entities undertake their economic activities.
    Against this conceptual background, this paper analyses the administrative and ownership structures
    of the major container ports in Asia by relating them to the ‘port function matrix’ and assesses their
    relative efficiency.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-192
    JournalAnnals of Maritime Studies
    Volume41
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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  • Cite this

    Cullinane, K., Song, D-W., & Wang, T-F. (2003). Private Sector Participation in Asian Ports. Annals of Maritime Studies, 41, 177-192.