Drewry Says Global Port Throughput Stable, Despite China’s Decline

The Drewry Container Port Throughput Indices are a series of volume growth/decline indices based on monthly throughput data for a sample of over 220 ports worldwide, representing over 75% of global volumes. The base point for the indices is January 2012 = 100.

The Drewry Container Port Throughput Index remained virtually unchanged in December 2018 vs the previous month, sitting at 128.5 points.

However, it was close to five points (4.0%) up when compared to November 2017.

China, the largest world region, saw a further decline of around three points (2.1%) in December 2018. The simmering US-China tariff war appears to be negatively impacting the throughput at Chinese ports, but the ongoing maturity of the Chinese economy is also a wider factor.

However, the index for China was more than five points up (4.1%) compared to December 2017.

Latin America experienced a 1% monthly decline in December 2018 and a near 3% annual decline, with changes in volumes at Central America transhipment hubs are key influencing factor.

The indices for Asia (excluding China) and Europe stood the same as the previous month at 130.1 and 120.5 points respectively in December 2018. Their annual performances though were better, with growth of nearly 4% for Asia (excluding China) and nearly 7% for Europe.

After witnessing a sharp decline of 14 points in November 2018, the index for the North America region bounced back to 143.1 points in December 2018, 4.4% (6.1 points) higher compared to November 2018. The annual increase is even higher at 11.7 points (8.9%). Front-loading of imports by shippers in order to try and beat possible trade tariff deadlines has been a key factor in 2018.

Africa saw the largest monthly decline of any region, six points (6%), and reached its lowest level of 99 points since May 2016. However, the sample for Africa is relatively small which may not be presenting the full picture.