Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: Stagnating world trade

Press release from 26 July 2019

The Container Throughput Index of RWI and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) is on a stable level. According to the current flash estimate, it reached 137.1 points in June.

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

The most important results:

• The Container Throughput Index of RWIand the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) reached 137.1 points in June, almost no change compared with May.

• At the same time, the May value has been revised downwards from 138.5 to 137.0. In recent months, container traffic has been very volatile, leading to a reduced reliability of the flash estimate and, hence, stronger revisions.

• The less volatile quarter-by-quarter comparison shows an increase of 0.2 per cent compared with the first quarter, indicating the sideward movement of the Index during the past nine months.

• The flash estimate for June is based on data from 42 ports, which account for about 73% of the container handling represented in the Index.

• The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for July 2019 will be published on 27 August 2019.

Commenting on the development of the index, RWI Chief Economist Roland Döhrn said: "Overall, world trade has been stagnating for nine months now. Trade policy tensions are currently reflected in large fluctuations in container handling in the individual ports. This makes short-term assessments of world trade more difficult".

About the RWI/ISL container throughput index:

The index includes the data on container transhipment in 83 international ports, which are continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market observation and account for around 60 percent of global container transhipment. Since international trade is mainly handled by sea, container transhipments allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about world trade. Because many ports already report on their activities two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI/ISL Container Handling Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods and thus also of global economic activity.



Prof. Dr. Roland Döhrn, Tel.: (0201) 8149-262,
Sabine Weiler (Pressestelle), Tel.: (0201) 8149-213,

Index data

Graphic in printable resolution (German)