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RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: Container traffic showing signs of recovery in European ports

According to the latest flash estimate by the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL), the Container Throughput Index has increased compared with January to reach 129.5 points in February. Without the notable decline of container traffic in Chinese ports, the increase would have been much stronger. In European ports, container traffic increased by almost three percent.

The essence in a nutshell:

  • The seasonally adjusted Container Throughput Index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) increased to 129.5 points in February after a 128.5 points (revised) in January.
  • Container throughput fell notably in Chinese ports. The index value dropped from 145.6 points (revised) to 142.0 points. However, the Chinese New Year may somehow distort the actual development.
  • The North Range Index, which gives an indication of economic development in the northern eurozone and Germany, shows a strong increase from a revised 101.0 points in January to 104.0 points in February.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for March 2024 will be published on 26 April 2024.

RWI head of economic research Torsten Schmidt comments on the development of the Container Throughput Index:: „Global container throughput strongly increased the fourth month in a row. The long-lasting decrease in European ports also seems to have stopped. This has likely given an impetus to the recently weak German exports.“

About the RWI/ISL- Container Throughput Index:

The index is based on data on container throughput in 92 international ports, which account for around 64 percent of global container throughput, collected on an ongoing basis as part of the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor. The current flash estimate for the Container Throughput Index is based on data from around 60 percent of the throughput shown in the index. As most international trade is handled by sea, container throughput allows reliable conclusions to be drawn about global trade. As many ports report on their activities just two weeks after the end of the month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods and therefore also of global economic activity.

The Container Throughput Index is part of the foreign trade statistics in the "Dashboard Detschland" of the Federal Statistical Office. It is also used by many international bodies such as UNCTAD and is included in the "Shipping/Port Data" section of the WTO's Global Trade Data Portal.

Data series for individual ports are available in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor.
Further background information on the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index can be found at

Your contacts:

Prof. Dr. Torsten Schmidt, Phone: +49 201 8149-287,

Sabine Weiler (Communications), Phone: +49 201 8149-213,

Data RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index

Graphic in printable resolution


RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: North Range

Data for special evaluation excluding Chinese ports

Graphic in printable resolution