The Container Throughput Index of the RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI) and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) has improved to 119.8 points in July from119.3 (revised) in June. It confirms the upward trend of world trade illustrated by the Container Index since March 2016. It must be pointed out that the data since February 2016 have been revised downwards because the port of Busan (South Korea) – one of the heavyweights with a share of 5% of the volume covered by the Index – has reported lower figures now. The index is now slightly below the level reached at the turn of the years 2014/15.
In long-term comparisons one has to note that the ocean carriers have strived to increase the so-called transhipment moves (i.e. shifting between two seagoing vessels) during the past years by integrating more ports in their networks as well as by cooperation and alliances. This means that the average number of handlings per container shrunk. In the short term, this effect does not compromise the explanatory power of the index.
The index is based on data of 81 world container ports covering approximately 60% of worldwide container handling. The ports are continuously monitored by the ISL as part of their market analysis. 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.
The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for August 2016 will be published on September 21st.
More detail on regional trends and data for single ports can be found in our "Monthly Container Port Monitor"