As the basis of the empirical investigation conducted within this study, it is hypothesised that the alteration of port ownership from public to private sector results in efficiency improvement. In other words, that a private terminal operator performs more efficiently than a public one. The findings drawn from an empirical analysis based on the use of the stochastic frontier model reveal, however, that ownership does not seem to be categorically related to efficiency in port operations. The overall results of the terminal frontier analysis have not provided clear-cut and indisputable evidence that the terminal operators who enjoy more freedom in carrying out their business perform more efficiently than the operators who implement their activities in an environment placing greater regulation upon them.