RWI/ISL Container Throughput Input Index

Container throughput has dropped sharply in European ports


According to the latest flash estimate, the container throughput index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose by 4 points in September compared to the preceding month to a seasonally adjusted 128.0 points. This exceptionally strong increase is predominantly attributable to the container throughput in Chinese ports. In many other world regions, it has once again declined substantially.

The essence in a nutshell:

  • The Container Troughput Index of RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) experienced significant growth in September, with a seasonally adjusted rise to 128.0 points from 124.0 points (revised) in the previous month.
  • Container Throughput significantly increased in Chinese ports, with an index value surge from 139.4 to 151.5 points. Nevertheless, the limited availability of data for September regarding Chinese ports implies that this rise is highly uncertain.
  • The North Range Index, which provides insights into economic growth in the northern Eurozone and Germany, experienced a notable decline in September from a revised 102.0 to 99.0 points compared with the previous month.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for October 2023 will be released on November 30th, 2023.

Torsten Schmidt

RWI’s head of economic research
The decrease in container throughput at European ports aligns with the prediction of a production decline in Europe during Q3. A gradual rebound in European container throughput is unlikely until the end of this year.

About the RWI/ISL- Container Throughput Index

The index takes into account the container throughput data continuously collected by the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor in 92 international ports, which account for around 64 per cent of global container throughput. The current quick estimate for the container throughput index is based on data from around 38 per cent of the throughput shown in the index. Since international trade is mainly handled by sea, container throughputs 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 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 Turnover 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.

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Input Index