The Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell to 133.9 according to the flash-estimate for February. Compared with (revised) January value of 138.2, this reflects the fourth-largest decline observed so far. Especially the Chinese ports experienced a decrease in container handling which corresponds to the festivities of Chinese New Year. In general, the computation accounts for this seasonal effect, however, its estimation still involves a higher degree of uncertainty.
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. Together, the 83 ports covered in the index account for about six out of ten containers handled worldwide. The flash-estimate for February is based on data reported by 41 ports, accounting for 72% of the total index volume. The resvison of the figure of January has led to a decrease of 0.6 points due to the amendments of the seasonal estimates.
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index for March 2019 will be released on 26 April 2018.