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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.

Ports and Terminals Insight
Ports and Terminals Insight

Drewry’s latest assessment - December 2020

  • Drewry’s container port throughput index finally showed recovery by reaching an all-time high of 139.1 points in October 2020, witnessing a 4% year on year and 2.4% month on month growth. This was the highest year on year growth recorded in 2020 which shows that the recovery is gathering momentum.
  • The container throughput index for China reached 152.5 points in October 2020, 9.5% higher than October 2019which was the strongest annual growth recorded across all regions. China has been leading the post-COVID-19 recovery since July 2020, but in previous months the reason for this growth was an increase in domestic cargo. However, China’s exports are gathering pace due to growth in orders from overseas markets. Early indicators are for a continued increase in exports in the coming months, which will in turn feed through to key consumer markets. China’s largest port Shanghai contributed the most to this growth, recording its highest ever monthly throughput of 4.2 mteu in October 2020.
  • The port throughput index for Asia (except China) remained stagnant with no monthly change, but recorded an annual decline of 3.1% in October 2020. This fall was largely attributed to South Korean port Busan, where throughput fell by 8.7% year on year.
  • North America was a star performer, with the index up on both a monthly and annual basis in October 2020. The index reached 160 points - the highest ever figure among all regions. New York was the only one of the top five ports to report a decline, but the other four (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Savannah, Vancouver) handled their highest ever monthly throughput in October 2020.
  • The index for Latin America has increased significantly by 6.5% in October 2020 compared to September 2020 to reach 117.1 points, although this is still 5.5% (6.8 points) less than October 2019. Europe’s index reached 120.6 - witnessing a 4.2% monthly increase but again 1.5 % lower year on year.
  • The index for the Middle East and South Asia region grew 0.9 % monthly and 2.0% annually and reached 127.3 points. Growth at South Asian ports underpinned growth, with handling at the Middle Eastern hubs declining in October 2020.
  • The Drewry Container Port Throughput Index for Oceania, where ports have been severely affected by congestion, has improved in October 2020 - up 17.1% monthly and 2.3% on an annual basis. The index for the region has reached its highest ever figure of 144.7 points in October 2020.
  • Africa was the only region that witnessed the monthly decline in October 2020. The index was at 96.6 points, which was 6.5% lower than in September 2020 and more than 9% lower than in October 2019. 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 September 2020 are preliminary, subject to change next month

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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