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Port Throughput Indices

The Drewry Container Port Throughput Indices are a series of volume growth/decline indices based on monthly throughput data for a sample of over 235 ports worldwide, representing over 75% of global volumes. The base point for the indices is January 2012 = 100.

Drewry Port Throughput Index
Drewry Port Throughput Index

Drewry’s latest assessment - March 2021

  • The Drewry Port Throughput Index resumed its growth trajectory in January 2021 after dropping for two consecutive months. It reached 137.8 points in January 2021, up from 135.7 points in December 2020. With this, it has surpassed the November 2020 level of 137.1 points and is nearing the October 2020 high-point of 140 points. The economic recovery from COVID-19 lifted the January 2021 Index up 8.8 points (6.8%) higher than in January 2020.
  • Chinese ports index witnessed a sharp rise in January 2021, touching 149.1 points and surging 8.3 points (5.9%) over December 2020. The largest port in China, Shanghai improved its monthly throughput by close to 0.4 mteu (11%), recovering the losses incurred in the previous month. Ningbo and Tianjin also reported monthly increases of 26% (0.57 mteu) and 21% (0.27 mteu) respectively in January 2021. On a year-on-year basis the Index is 12.8 points (9.4%) ahead of January 2020.
  • The port throughput index for Asia (ex-China) slipped to 132.6 points, recording a monthly decline of 1.4% monthly in January 2021. Singapore, the largest port of the region which contributes close to 30% to the regional throughput, registered negative growth of 3% (0.1 mteu) month on month in January 2021. However, the index remains 5.9 points (4.7%) higher than in January 2020.
  • The North American index, which had already declined to 154.6 points in December 2020, dropped further to 152.7 points in January 2021. This decline is attributed to port congestion woes, particularly at the ports of Los Angeles (-5%) and Long Beach (-6%). Both ports reported the lowest monthly throughput since July 2020 and September 2020, respectively. Despite the congestion issues, the index remained 9.9% (13.7 points) higher year on year.
  • The European port throughput index improved slightly to 119.7 points in January 2021. This is around 1% higher than in December 2020 and close to 3% higher than in January 2020. COVID-19 restrictions remain widespread across the continent, limiting economic activity with some ports in the region struggling with congestion as well.
  • The index for Latin America has dived to 119.6 points in January 2021 from 126.0 in December 2020, recording a monthly decline of 5.1%. The fall is particularly evident in the ports of Santos (Brazil) and Balboa (Panama) which recorded monthly declines of 14% and 24% respectively in January 2021. The index is 3.6 points (3.1%) higher than in January 2020.
  • The index for the Middle East and South Asia recorded steady annual growth, but remained constant on a month on month basis 134.4 points in January 2021. Indian ports performed strongly with Mundra, JNPT and Chennai registering year-on-year growth of 26%, 9% and 19%, respectively. The overall index was 8.3 points (6.6%) higher than in January 2020.
  • Oceania continues to face port congestion which limited the throughput index to 140 points in January 2020 after it touched the highest-ever figure of 144.7 points in October 2020. However, it was still 10.6% higher than in January 2020.
  • The container throughput index for Africa continues to decline, touching 92.9 points in January 2021 – a decline of 11.7% monthly and 5.9% annually. The index for Africa is however based on a small sample.
* Based on a relatively small sample, and should be viewed with caution
# All index figures for January 2021 are preliminary, subject to change next month

March 2021 Sector Update

Related Research: Port and Terminal Sector

For access to port traffic data behind these Port Throughput Indices subscribe to Drewry’s Ports and Terminals Insight. Published quarterly, it provides comprehensive analysis of the key trends and issues impacting the ports and terminals sector. It looks behind the data, issues and trends to answer both the ’cause’ and ’effect’ questions that matter most to senior industry stakeholders.


Recent thought leadership topics covered include:

  • Southeast Asian port readiness for COVID-19-driven supply chain diversification

  • Fragmented port capacity ‒ a major operational issue

  • How can terminal operators navigate through the perfect storm

  • Varying network strategies of the mega-alliances
  • The rise of Chinese international port investments

  • Is intensity of container terminal asset usage improving


Market sectors covered


Countries with subscribing Maritime Research clients.


Leading industry publications feature content from our Maritime Research reports each month (2020 monthly average)


New reports and title updates released in the 12 months before December 2020

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