Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: trade conflicts impact on world trade

Press release from 20 December 2019

The container handling index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) dropped to 137.7 in November according to the current flash estimate.

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

The most important results:

  • The Container Throughput Index dropped to 137.7 in November according to the current flash estimate.
  • The October value was revised downwards by 1.2 points against last month’s flash forecast. A strong revision was expected due to the limited number of ports that had reported until then.
  • The development indicates that trade conflicts now have a visible impact on world trade.
  • The current flash forecast for November is based on 38 ports, which account for around 60 percent of the handling volume represented in the index.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for December 2019 will be published on 31 January 2020.

RWI's Chief Economist Roland Döhrn: "While the Index was surprisingly stable during the past months, trade conflicts now seem to show an impact on world trade.”

About the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index:
The Index is based on data continuously collected from 83 world container ports by ISL as part of its market monitoring. Together, they account for around 60 per cent of worldwide container handling. Because large parts of international merchandise trade are transported by ship, the development of port handling is a good indicator for world trade. As many ports release information about their activities only two weeks after the end of the respective month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator for the development of international merchandise trade and hence for the activity of the global economy.



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


Index data

Graphic in printable resolution (German)