RWI/ISL container handling index: World trade is reviving on a wide range


The container handling index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute of Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) continued to rise to 116.1 in August according to the latest flash estimate. The revival of world trade is gaining in breadth.

The main results:

  • The Container Handling Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute of Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose slightly in August, seasonally adjusted, from (revised) 115.2 to 116.1.
  • Compared with the flash estimate, the August figure has been revised downwards by 1.0 points. The reason for the relatively large recent revisions is the very volatile and therefore difficult to forecast development in individual ports due to the corona pandemic.
  • While handling in Chinese ports declined slightly after the all-time high in July, handling outside China improved again significantly.
  • The North Range Index, which gives an indication of the economic development in the northern euro zone and in Germany, deteriorated by 4.0 points. Large fluctuations from month to month are not unusual. As the index for July was revised upwards by 2.2 points after all data were released, the underlying trend remains positive.
  • The current flash estimate for the container handling index is based on data from 59 ports, which account for about 83 percent of the handling shown in the index.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Handling Index for September 2020 will be published on 30 October 2020.

Regarding the development of the container handling index, RWI economic director Torsten Schmidt comments: "Container handling shows that the normalization of world trade is continuing. Ports outside China are now also reporting rising figures again. “

About the RWI / ISL container handling index:

The index includes the data on container transhipment in 91 international ports, which are continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market observation and account for around 60 percent of global container transhipment. Since international trade is mainly handled by sea, container transhipments allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about world trade. Because many ports already report on their activities two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI/ISL Container Handling Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods and thus also of global economic activity. Data series for individual ports are available in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor