Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: World trade is catching up again - regional differences remain large

Press release from 31 July 2020

The container throughput index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose to 111.5 in June according to the latest flash estimate. The most important reason is a strong increase in Chinese ports.

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) rose slightly in June, seasonally adjusted, from 107.7 to 111.5. This is still 4.3 percent below the previous year's figure, however.

• The value for May corresponds to the flash estimate. The figures for March and April have been revised upwards by 1.5 and 0.9 points respectively. This was due to a subsequent change in the data for one Korean port.

• Chinese ports were the driving force behind the recovery in container traffic. Their handling increased (seasonally adjusted) by a good 5 percent compared with the previous month and reached an all-time high.

• The North Range Index, which gives an indication of the economic development in the northern euro zone and in Germany, fell again and at 100.0 is 1.1 points below the corrected value from May.

• The current quick estimate for the Container Transhipment Index is based on data from 67 ports, which account for around 84 percent of the transhipment shown in the index.

• The RWI/ISL Container Handling Index for July 2020 will be published on August 25, 2020.

Regarding the development of the container throughput index, RWI economic director Torsten Schmidt says: "The development of container throughput indicates a stabilization of world trade. However, the differences between the regions remain large."


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



Leonard Goebel (press office), Tel.: (0201) 8149-210


Data (german)

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RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: North Range

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

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Index Data (China and the rest of the world)