• October 31, 2014

August 12, 2014?There seem to be as many ways to gauge port\r\nperformance as there are analysts?but is this abundance efficient or even\r\nuseful? Is there a simpler way, for example, to rank the performance of terminals\r\nwithout imposing onerous data collection requirements?

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These questions were answered in ?How Fit are Central\r\nAmerica?s Ports? An Exercise in Measuring Port Performance,? a paper prepared\r\nby Nathan Associates? Paul Kent and Gerardo Ayzanoa\r\nand consultant Asaf Ashar. Mr. Ayzanoa\r\npresented the paper at this year?s conference of the International Association of Maritime\r\nEconomists in Norfolk on July 17.

Six Indicators Provide Superior Insight On Operational Performance

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In the paper, the authors assess the efficacy and\r\napplicability of a set of performance indicators at six commercial gateway\r\ncontainer terminals in Central America and at three terminals in Latin America.\r\nThe indicators pertain to operational efficiency (ship productivity, crane\r\nproductivity, berth throughput productivity) and level of service (ship\r\ndelay, truck delay, truck turn time). Based on operational concepts familiar to terminal operators and regulators, they provide more insight about port performance than perception surveys and other approaches–such as data envelopment analysis, or DEA–and draw attention to specific aspects of port operations that might need improvement. Regulators can use the indicators to monitor\r\nperformance and government officials can incorporate them into concession\r\ncontracts.

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Two Indicators Facilitate Terminal Rankings and Simplify Data Collection

Regulators can easily obtain information on basic indicators\r\nfrom terminal reports, but when the goal is to rank terminals for intraregional,\r\ninterregional, and global analysis data collection can be complex and difficult.\r\nTo provide a basis for ranking terminals and to ease future collection efforts, Kent, Ayzanoa, and Ashar apply principal\r\ncomponents analysis (PCA) to reduce the number of indicators to those most representative\r\nof performance. They conclude that of the six indicators, two?ship productivity and crane productivity?can facilitate broad comparisons\r\nof operational performance and rankings of terminals.

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Papers presented at the IAME conference underwent double-blind\r\npeer review. Paul Kent, lead author of ?How\r\nFit Are Central America?s Ports,? served on the review panel and received special\r\nrecognition for providing authors comments that enhanced presentation quality and\r\nimproved their chances of publication in peer reviewed journals.

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