This study applies modern economic principles to the operations of modern port facilities, ranging from new ports in the planning stages for developing nations to established American and European ports retrofitted to handle container cargos and larger vessels. It investigates all the links in the chain of port services - the transfer of goods between land and sea transportation - and offers recommendations for strengthening the weaker links. Port Economics covers the historical development of port organization and technology, production measures, short- and long-term cost functions, pricing, and investment. The capital input by the port authorities and the labor input by the cargo-handling companies are discussed, and the authors consider the utility of merging port and stevedoring charges. Queuing processes are adjusted to fit the special circumstances of port traffic, allowing for the measurement of such variables as throughput and congestion costs. The theory developed for individual ports is extended to national port systems over time. Throughout the book, elements of the theory are tested empirically against data from ports in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The final chapter is a large-scale case-study of the Nigerian port system, which serves to test the whole of the authors' economic theory, including such concepts developed in the later chapters as dynamic port system investment and optimal port charges.
Their book is the eighth in MIT Press Transportation Studies Series, edited by Marvin L. Manheim.