Container terminal production is both an important and complicated element in the contemporary global economy. This paper aims to evaluate the efficiency of the world’s most important container ports and terminals using the two alternative techniques of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and the Free Disposal Hull (FDH) model. The results give an insight into the current efficiency ranking of the world’s major container ports and terminals. They also confirm expectations that the available mathematical programming methodologies lead to different results and that appropriate variable definition of input and output factors is a crucial element in meaningful applications of DEA and FDH. It is also concluded that the availability of panel data, rather than cross-sectional data would greatly improve the validity of the efficiency estimates derived from all the mathematical programming techniques applied.