The impact of specialization, ownership, competition and regulation on efficiency: a case study of Indian seaports

Nicole Adler, Georg Hirte, Shravana Kumar, Hans Martin Niemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a two-stage formulation to estimate seaport performance and to understand the drivers of efficiency, which could potentially include specialization, ownership, competition and tariff regulation. The first-stage non-parametric, slacks-based measure estimates the technical efficiency of each port. For the second-stage analysis, we develop a set of contextual variables including an absolute measure of specialization and a berth-level measure of ownership structure. To measure competition, we develop spatial measures that quantify the level of competition as a function of distance. We subsequently apply this formulation to major Indian seaports, covering a period of 21 years, from 1995 to 2015. The first-stage results suggest that average seaport efficiency has increased gradually over time. The second-stage fixed effects regressions show that specialization and external stakeholder participation have significant positive impacts on seaport performance. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that, in a tiered governance framework, competition between major seaports and local seaports has a significant negative impact on performance, potentially due to excessive infrastructure. Finally, changes in the regulatory mechanism over time are shown to be efficiency improving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-536
Number of pages30
JournalMaritime Economics and Logistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Competition
  • Indian seaports
  • Ownership
  • Specialization
  • Tariff regulation
  • Technical efficiency

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transportation
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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