Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Box traffic index points to rising world trade

barbadosContainer throughput at the world’s seaports has been on the rise for the past few months and reached a new record in March, pointing to an improving global economy.

The Container Throughput Index for March climbed to 122.6 points to record a new all-time high, according to Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), a science research center, and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL), a maritime research service.

RWI and ISL in a joint statement said the March index, published last week, was an upward revision from their earlier figure of 120.5 points.

“Although the upward movement might be biased as a result of the delayed impact of the Chinese New Year holidays, the index gained a total of 5 points during the last six months, which is an indicator for a solid growth in world trade,” the statement added.

For January and February, the box throughput figures have been revised upwards as well, by 0.7 and 1.2 points, respectively.

Noting the unusually large adjustment, the two groups explained that these changes partially reflect the seasonal adjustment of the index. “The Chinese New Year has a strong impact on the seasonal factors as February regularly is one of the weakest months in terms of handling volumes due to the Chinese holidays.”

The March index is based on the handlings volumes of 37 ports, which represent only half of the ports regularly monitored by the think tanks. “Since figures for some heavyweight Chinese ports are missing, larger revisions are possible,” the two said.

The Container Throughput Index is a monthly publication based on data from 75 world container ports covering about 60 percent of worldwide container handling.

Because large parts of international merchandise trade are transported by ship, the development of port handling is a good indicator for world trade, the groups said.

Photo: Roger Wollstadt

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