Press Office

RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index: Recovery in China Carries International Container Trade

Press release from 30 November 2021

According to the latest flash estimate, the Container Throughput Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose by one point in October to 123.3. This is attributed to promising throughput increases in Chinese ports.

Grafik Entwicklung RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index

The essence in a nutshell:

  • The Container Throughout Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose in October in seasonally adjusted terms from 122.3 (revised) to 123.3.
  • Container throughput in Chinese ports grew significantly. The index increased from 128.5 to 131.7 (see below “Data special evaluation excluding Chinese ports” under the “Downloads” link). However, beyond China, the container throughput index sunk.
  • The North Range Index, an indicator of economic development in the northern euro area and Germany, sunk in October from the month before from 114.3 (revised) to 113.1.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for November 2021 will be published on 22 December 2021.

Commenting on the development of the Container Throughput Index, RWI’s head of economic research, Torsten Schmidt says, “container throughput has stalled for several months now. The renewed increase in COVID-19 infections indicates that the container throughput index will not soon return to its positive trend seen prior to the pandemic.”

About the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index:

The index includes data on container throughput in 94 international ports continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market observation. They account for around 64 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