Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Troughput Indes: Slight recovery with strong regional disparities

Press release from 29 October 2021

The current flash estimate of 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 1.1 points to 124.8 points. Behind the increase, there are strong regional disparities. While throughput decreased in the Chinese ports, traffic surged in the 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 from 123.7 points (revised) in August to 124.8 points in September.
  • In Chinese ports, container throughput weakened significantly. The Index dropped from 131.3 to 128.0 (see „Current data for the index China“ below).
  • The North Range Index, an indicator of economic development in the northern euro area and Germany, showed a strong increase from 113.5 (revised) to 119.3 points according to the September flash forecast, compensating the decrease of the previous months.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for October 2021 will be published on 30 November 2021.

Commenting on the development of the Container Throughput Index, RWI’s head of economic research, Torsten Schmidt says, “Container traffic is continuing its recovery from the summer dip. Still, world merchandise is still not yet flowing smoothly. The container traffic is still very volatile in various regions of the world.“

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 Handling Index, see


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 North Range Index

Graphic Container Throughput Index in printable resolution


RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: North Range

Grafik Entwicklung RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index Nordrange

Graphic in printable resolution

Data for special evaluation excluding chinese ports

Press release in pdf format