Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: The decline continues slower

Press release from 25 June 2020

The Container Throughput Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell to 107.7 points in May according to the latest flash estimate. In the Chinese ports, throughput increased slightly, while in the other ports it fell significantly.

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

The most important results:

  • The Container Throughput Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute of Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell slightly in May in seasonally adjusted terms from (corrected) 107.8 to 107.7. It is thus now 7.3 percent below the previous year's figure.
  • The minus of 0.1 points compared to April is small. At the same time, however, the April value was revised downwards by 1.1 points compared to the flash estimate.
  • Once again, the development in China differed from that in the rest of the world: in Chinese ports, cargo handling increased by just under 2 percent compared to the previous month. In the ports of the other countries, throughput fell by 1.5 percent compared with April and are now 10 percent lower than a year ago.
  • The North Range Index, which gives an indication of the economic development in the northern euro zone and in Germany, fell by 2.0 points to 102.4.
  • The current flash estimate for the Container Throughput Index is based on data from 61 ports, which account for around 84 percent of the handling shown in the index.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for June 2020 will be published on July 31, 2020.

Regarding the development of the container handling index, RWI economic manager Torsten Schmidt says: "As expected, container throughput continued to decline in May. This time the decline was particularly large in European ports."

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

Chart in full resolution

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

Graph Container-Throughput-Index

Chart in full resolution

Index Data (China and the rest of the world)

Data (german)

Chart (german)