RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index indicates that world trade is stuck at current levels


The Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the ISL – Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics increased marginally from 132.6 points (revised) in July to 132.8 points in August.

Regardless of this “increase” which effectively is a standstill, the index continued to run well below the (all-time-) high seen in January (134.1 points). The index thus indicates and ongoing stagnation of world trade.

Containerumschlagindex August 2018
Containerumschlagindex August 2018

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 August is based on data reported by 31 ports, accounting for ~64% of the total index volume. The flash-estimate for June was revised down by 0.5 points.

The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index for September 2018 will be released on 23 October 2018.

Regional trends and data of individual ports can be found in our "Monthly Container Port Monitor"