Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: Increasing container handlings in China lead stimulate international container trade

Press release from 28 September 2021

The current flash forecast for the Container Throughput Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) indicates a seasonally adjusted increase of 3.2 points to 126.6 points in August. The increase is mostly triggered by Chinese ports while container traffic decreased in European ports.

Grafik Entwicklung RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index

The essence in a nutshell:

  • The seasonally adjusted Container Throughput Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) increased significantly from 123.4 points (revised) in July to 126.6 points in August.
  • Container throughput grew strongly in Chinese ports. The Index jumped from 126.4 to 131.6 (see download “Data excluding Chinese ports” below). The re-opening of a formerly closed port has only partly contributed to this jump.
  • The North Range Index, an indicator of economic development in the northern euro area and Germany, decreased in August from 114.8 (revised) to 114.2 points. This development most likely reflects the logistical disturbances that have been dampening world trade since quite some time now.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for September 2021 will be published on 29 October 2021.

Commenting on the development of the Container Throughput Index, RWI’s head of economic research, Torsten Schmidt says, “It appears that the problems in Chinese ports are slowly being solved. However, the setback in Europe shows that container traffic is not yet flowing smoothly again.”

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.

Data series for individual ports are available in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor.
For more background information on the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index, visit


Your contact persons:

Prof. Dr. Torsten Schmidt, Phone: +49 201 8149-287, 
Sabine Weiler (Communication), Phone: +49 201 8149-213, 


Data Container Throughput Index and Northrange Index

Graphic Container Throughput Index in printable resolution 


RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: Northrange

Grafik Entwicklung RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index Nordrange

Graphic in printable resolution

Data special evaluation excluding chinese ports

Pressemitteilung im pdf-Format