Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: lockdown dampens container handling in Europe

Press release from 30 April 2021

According to the latest flash estimate, the Container Throughput Index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 points in March to now 122.6. In the ports included in the North Range Index, it dropped by 8.4 percent since January.

Grafik Containerumschlag-Index

The essence in a nutshell:

The Container Throughput Index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose slightly in seasonally adjusted terms from 121.4 (revised) to 122.6 in March. Overall, the index is moving sideward for six months now.

• The North Range Index, which gives an indication of economic developments in the northern euro area and Germany, fell from 111.1 (revised) to 108.8. The lockdown measures across Europe dampen container traffic in the ports.

• In the Chinese ports, container traffic increased slightly on March.

• The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for April 2021 will be published on 27 May 2021.

Commenting on the development of the Container Throughput Index, RWI's head of economic research Torsten Schmidt says: ‚The limitations on social activities in Europe supposedly contributed the continuing drop of the North Range Index. The progress of the vaccination campaign should facilitate an easing of measures and hence stimulate international trade‘

About the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index:

The index includes data on container throughput in 91 international ports continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market observation. They account for around 60 percent of global container traffic. Since international trade is mainly handled by sea, reliable conclusions can be drawn from container port throughput on world trade. As many ports already report on their activities two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international manufactures trade and thus also of global economic activity.


Datenreihen für einzelne Häfen sind im 
ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor verfügbar. 

For more background information on the RWI/ISL Container Handling Index, please visit www.rwi-essen.de/containerindex.

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Your contact persons:

Prof. Dr. Torsten Schmidt, Phone.: (0201) 8149-287, 
Sabine Weiler (Communication), Phone: (0201) 8149-213, 

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Data Container Throughput Index and North Range Index

Graphic Container Throughput Index in printable resolution

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RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: Northrange

Grafik Nordrange-Index

Graphic in printable resolution

Data for special evaluation excluding Chinese ports

Press release in pdf format (available only in German)

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