Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: World trade returns to growth path

Press release from 26 February 2021

The Container Throughput Index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) has risen slightly to now 120.8 according to the latest flash estimate in January. Container throughput thus appears to be returning to the growth path of before the Corona crisis.

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index

The main results:

  • The Container Throughput Index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose slightly in January from (revised) 119.1 to 120.8 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
  • The Chinese ports in particular saw a significant increase in throughput. In the other ports, container throughput increased only moderately.
  • The North Range Index, which provides indications of economic developments in the northern euro area and Germany, also expanded more strongly than the overall index, from (revised) 114.8 to 117.9. This indicator is also returning to the growth path seen before the Corona crisis.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for February 2021 will be published on March 30, 2021.

Commenting on the development of the container handling index, RWI's head of economic research Torsten Schmidt says: "At the beginning of this year, rising demand, especially from China, is again supporting world trade and thus also German exports. World trade appears to be returning to its pre-Corona crisis growth path."

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.

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Your contact person for this:

Prof. Dr. Torsten Schmidt, Phone: (0201) 8149-287,
Leonard Goebel (Communication), Phone: (0201) 8149-210, 

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Data Container Throughput Index

Graphic Container Throughput Index in printable version

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RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index: Northrange

Grafik Nordrange-Index

Graphic in printable version

Press release in pdf format

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