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RWI/ISL Container Throughput Input Index: Global trade remains weakened

According to the current flash forecast, the seasonally adjusted Container Throughput Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) remained stable at 118.1 points in March, compared to February. The weakened container throughput of the past months continues.

The essence in a nutshell:

  • The Container Throughput Index of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) remained practically the same at seasonally adjusted 118.1 points in March, compared to 118.6 points (revised) in the previous month.
  • In Chinese ports, the container throughput increased significantly from 128.7 points in February to 134.8 points in March.  However, the index values around this time of the year require cautious interpretation due to the impact of the Chinese New Year holidays.
  • In contrast, the downturn in European ports continues. The North Range Index, an indicator for economic development in northern Europe and Germany, recorded a strong decrease from 102.3 to 90.4 points, compared to the previous month. Despite the upwards revision of February´s index value, the overall trend remains downward. The trend component of the index has been declining steadily from June 2021 (121.5) until now, March 2023 (99.3).
  • The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for the month of April 2023 will be published on May 31st, 2023.

Commenting on the development of the Container Throughput Index, RWI’s head of economic research Torsten Schmidt says: “The development of global container throughput remains weak. The only sparks of hope are currently coming from Chinese ports. Apart from China, container throughput is still on the decrease. This can be observed especially in European ports, where container throughput has been on a downward trend since mid-2021.”

About the RWI/ISL- Container Throughput Index:

The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index consists of container throughput data from 94 international ports gathered continuously by the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor as part of its market observation. These ports account for approximately 64 percent of global container traffic. The current flash estimate for the Container Throughput Index is based on data from about 72 percent of the total index displayed here. As international trade is handled primarily by sea, reliable conclusions can be drawn here from container port throughput data. Furthermore, the index is a reliable early indicator of international trade of manufactured goods as well as global economic activity as most ports already report their activities within two weeks after the end of each month. 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.
For more information on the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index, please visit


Prof. Dr. Torsten Schmidt, Tel.: +49 (0) 201 8149-287, 
Sabine Weiler (Communications), Tel.: +49 (0) 201 8149-213,


Data Container Throughput Index and North Range Index

Graphic Container Throughput Index in printable resolution



RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index: Nordrange


Graphic in printable resolution

Data for special evaluation excluding chinese ports