Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for April

Press release from 26 May 2020

The Container Throughput Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell to 108.9 points in April according to the latest flash estimate. In the Chinese ports, throughput decreased somewhat, while it remained at a low level in the other ports.

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The most important results:

  • The Container Handling Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute of Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell from 110.4 (revised) to 108.9 in April, seasonally adjusted. It is 6.5 percent below the previous year's value.
  • Seasonally adjusted, handling in Chinese ports was around 2.5 percent lower than in the previous month. This was due to the fact that containers left behind during the corona lockdown had been loaded March.
  • In the ports of the other countries, handling remained at the low level of the previous month. The index for this group of ports is 6.7 percent below the previous year’s level.
  • The North Range Index, which gives an indication of economic development in the northern euro zone and in Germany, fell by 2.8 points to 104.3. This is the lowest value in three years.
  • The current flash estimate for the Container Throughput Index is based on data from 52 ports, which account for around 74 percent of the handling shown in the index.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for May 2020 will be published on 25 June 2020.

Regarding the development of the container throughput index, RWI Economic Director Torsten Schmidt says: “In April, container throughput fell to its lowest level in three years. A further decline is likely, since many goods ordered before the Corona pandemic are still being loaded.”

About the RWI / ISL container handling index:

The index includes the data on container transhipment in 91 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.

Data series for individual ports are available in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor.
Further background information on the RWI/ISL Container Port Index can be found at



Prof. Dr. Roland Döhrn, Tel.: +49 201 8149-262, 
Sabine Weiler (Pressestelle),   Tel.: +49 201 8149-213, 

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: North Range

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

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RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: China and the rest of the world 

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

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Index data


Daten zum Containerumschlag-Index

Grafik zum Containerumschlag-Index