Press Office

RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index continues to rise strongly

Press release from 25 April 2017

During March 2017, the Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose by a hefty 1.5 points. The index thus reached 126.0 points. This implies that the expansion of world trade continued regardless of the spectre of rising protectionist tendencies. The February estimate showed no need for revisions.

Container Throughput Index
The Container Throughput Index is a joint project of RWI with the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL). It aims at providing timely information on short term trends in international trade. The index is based on the consideration that containers have become the most important means of transporting processed products. Therefore, the global container throughput and international trade can be expected to be highly correlated.

As a part of their monthly reporting many ports publish data on container throughput expressed in twenty foot equivalent units (TEU). ISL collects these data systematically in its port database. The 82 ports covered in the index account for about 6 out of 10 containers handled worldwide.

Calculating the indicator starts about 20 days after the end of each month. At that time, about 25 ports have already published information about the container throughput in the latest months, which allows for a flash estimate of the indicator. Data still missing are forecasted using statistical time series models. Thereafter, the data are added up and the sum is adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects. Furthermore, the trend-cycle component of the seasonally adjusted figures is estimated to eliminate irregular influences. One month later, as a rule data on 65 ports are available. Then an update of the figures already published is made and a new flash estimate for the latest month is released.

Hitherto, the RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index shows a close correlation with world trade. The index provides valuable input into business cycles analyses, since it is available 3 to 4 months in advance of data on world trade published by international organizations, and one month in advance of the first estimates of world trade volumes.

The flash-estimate for March is based on data reported by 38 ports, accounting for ~ 74% of the total index volume.

The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index for April 2017 will be released on May 23rd.

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Contact:

Prof. Dr. Roland Döhrn, Tel.: (0201) 8149-262,
Jörg Schäfer (Press Office), Tel.: (0201) 8149-244,

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