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


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.

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 incorporates container throughput data collected on an ongoing basis by the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor at 94 international ports, which account for about 64 percent of global container throughput. The current quick estimate for the Container Throughput Index is based on data from about 81 percent of the throughput reflected in the index. Since international trade is mainly handled by ocean-going vessels, container throughputs allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about world trade. Because many ports report on their activities as early as two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods and thus also of global economic activity. The container throughput index is part of the statistics on foreign trade in the "Dashboard Deutschland" of the Federal Statistical Office.
Data series for individual ports are available in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor.