Previous research on privatization has focused on its effect on output, profitability, investment and efficiency at the level of the firm, neglecting the economic growth and other impacts. Nigeria’s port privatization through concession in 2006 covered virtually all the ports in the economy. However, the few studies on the subject neither factored in the complexity that characterize the multiple port system nor controlled for alternative explanations of the changes in the economy. This correlational study tested the property rights theory by investigating whether the changes in production efficiency at the ports following privatization are good predictors of economic growth in Nigeria. Eight years of existing panel data were collected from Nigerian ports, providing 160 observations on several selected variables. The analyses controlled for the influence of confounding or interacting variables and addressed the complexity of the port system using linear programming. The multiple regression analysis showed that privatization, deregulation, cargo increases, interest rate, and inflation rate accounted for high variations in short and long-term economic growth. Port privatization transmitted growth to the economy through cargo throughput increases. The Malmquist linear programming analysis revealed overall but modest improvements in production efficiency changes after the privatization. By isolating possible areas of efficiency improvements, this study may inform port managers in Nigeria on ways to improve overall competitiveness. The potential contribution of the research to social change lies in clearly identifying the critical variables to economic growth in Nigeria to aid economic planning, poverty alleviation and improving the quality of life.