This article assesses the impacts of cost and operational variables on major Chinese ports by means of a stochastic frontier model on a panel data from 2002 to 2012. More precisely, both random and fixed-effect stochastic models are used in the analyses to cross-validate the results. Findings suggest that there is considerable heterogeneity in China’s seaports, affecting their cost efficiency estimation. Moreover, remote port locations are shown to exhibit lower efficiency, while larger ports appear to be more efficient. Port heterogeneity is therefore shown to be a policy criterion the importance of which could in no way be understated.
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