The Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the ISL – Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics recovered some of its losses during April, climbing from 130.0 (revised) to 131.0 points. After the strong revision of the March figure, the development during 2018 so far has been noticeably weaker than initially indicated. The strong revision is attributable to three elements. For one port data was simply recorded wrong. A second port revised its figures downwards on a massive scale and two ports, for which no data had been available back then, performed surprisingly weak.
Whilst all this lead to a major revision of the March figure, the entire first quarter 2018 still marked a new all-time high for the RWI/ISL index. The index is based on data continuously collected from world container ports by ISL as part of its market monitoring. 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. As of 2018, the index is compiled based on data of 88 ports. Together these ports account for ~60% of worldwide container handling. The flash-estimate for April is based on data reported by 46 ports, accounting for 73% of the total index volume.
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index for March 2018 will be released on 20 June 2018.