The efficiency of port operations is a major driver of trade competitiveness and the ability of ports to compete in a complex and evolving market structure. Steps must be taken to support the adoption of relevant technologies and solutions in ports, including for customs automation and port community systems. Port performance helps determine the standing of ports. Understanding the performance of ports helps inform relevant port-related planning and decision-making processes. Efforts must be taken to refine port performance measurements, by investing in data collection capabilities and supporting information and communications technology platforms that lower data collection and analysis costs. Though it is difficult to make effective international comparisons of port performance.
standardization of port performance measures and metrics will support meaningful benchmarking and reliable comparisons and rankings. It is essential to examine the perceptions of users and stakeholders regarding port performance or user or stakeholder satisfaction measurement. Government has a role to play by supporting small to medium-sized ports in adapting to the new situation, including through policy work and other facilitative arrangements that would support the improvement of the services in the respective hinterlands, rather than competing for international trans-shipment hub. In order to help the secondary and smaller ports maintain their market position, it is necessary to identify which strategy to follow to attract mainline or feeder service providers. It is very important to improve the understanding of the determinants of cargo dwell time. Governments can address inefficiencies and unlock the capacity constraints related to the ports through regulations, incentives, policy measures and investments, including to ensure efficient operations by border management and clearing agencies. Furthermore, the participation of private terminal operators through public-private partnerships is evolving as an important mechanism to leverage greater private investment participation in port development and to access specialized skills, innovations, and new technologies that are associated with infrastructure development, operation and maintenance. Governments can build on the extensive public-private partnership models to define a suitable public-private partnership strategy that would ensure successful collaboration and generate sustainable development outcomes. The important requirements for a successful public-private partnership are: well-designed public-private partnership agreements that ensure appropriate risk sharing and flexibility, a clear policy framework that addresses and mitigates risks, a legal and regulatory system that makes sure that agreements are effective and enforceable, and an institutional framework within government including technical and managerial capacities, to properly manage the process. It is a fact that the private operators are the key partners in the development and competitiveness of the ports. Not only does it help improve the movement of goods efficiently and cost-effectively through enhanced infrastructure and services, but also contribute to better port sustainability and competitiveness through new technologies, improved supply chain management, hinterland connectivity and door-to-door delivery. Ports should formulate policies and devise plans on how best to adapt to the requirements of the changing liner shipping market environment. Terminal operators, ports and shipping lines should engage in closer cooperation to mitigate the negative impact of growing cost pressures. The cost pressures may lead to increasing port charges, although this may prove difficult, due to the current market conditions. If the terminal operators are forced to leave the market because of lower margins or refrain from investing in new capacity because of uncertain returns, then it will be difficult for the container port industry to service the liner shipping sector, in particular, larger ships.
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