Press Office

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index down in August for the third time in a row

Press release from 25 September 2012

The RWI/ISL Container Handling Index decreased from a corrected 111.1 to 110.6 in August. This is the third drop in a row, making the index lose 3.4 points since May. This points to a considerable weakness of international merchandise trade, but it is too early to speak of a crisis. In fact, during the global financial and economic crisis 2008/09, the index had lost up to 16 points within three months.

The downward revision of the July value was particularly strong. This did not come as a surprise since it was derived from a rather small sample of ports. The August flash forecast is based on 32 ports handling 48% of the traffic represented in the index. Once more, a number of major Chinese ports have not yet reported their results.

The Index is based on data for 72 international ports covering more than 60% of world container handling. These ports are continuously monitored by the ISL as part of their market analysis. Because large parts of international merchandise trade are transported by ship, the development of port handling is a good indicator for world trade. As many ports release information about their activities only two weeks after the end of the respective month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator for the development of international merchandise trade and hence for the activity of the global economy.

The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for September will be published on October 24th.

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Dr. Roland Döhrn (RWI), Tel.: +49 201 81 49-262,
Sönke Maatsch (ISL), Tel.: +49 421 220 96-32,
Sabine Weiler (Press Office RWI), Tel.: +49 0201 81 49-213,

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Further information about the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is available at