Fundamental to any business is the concept of performance. This can be compared by using the competition as a benchmark for achievement or by comparing performance with previously defined goals and objectives. Stakeholders constantly demand to know whether their investmerit in a company is obtaining an adequate return and whilst there are established accounting techniques to calculate return on investment or capital employed, calculating efficiency can be rather a grey area in some industries. Ports are no exception and it is only by comparison that performance can be evaluated. Ports are, however, a complex business with many different sources of inputs and outputs which make direct comparison among apparently homogeneous ports seem difficult. The subject is further complicated by the various types of port ownership and organisational structures that exist throughout the world. This thesis seeks to determine whether there is a particular type of ownership and organisational structure that leads to a more efficient port. This aim is achieved by examining the efficiency of differently owned container ports, comparing privately owned ports against those remaining in the public sector, and those that have elements of both public and private ownership patterns. In addition, the organisational structure of those ports examined is analysed and classified with the results placed into a singular conceptual model for a clear comparison. The conceptual model can be then applied to any type of business enabling the performance of ownership and organisational structures to be compared with ease. The results of this thesis show that there is a strong relationship between the relative efficiency of ports examined and organisational structure and a weaker relationship between port ownership patterns. These results should assist governments, port administrators and port owners in determining the different ways they can structure their ports.

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