Container Port Throughput Index Almost Stagnant
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’s container port throughput index remained almost stagnant in September 2020, recording a marginal 0.3% month on month change, but a higher three point change (2.3%) year on year. This was the first time in 2020 when the global index witnessed positive year-on-year growth leading us to officially state that global recovery has finally started.
China is the largest region, accounting for around 40% of the global port volumes. The country’s throughput improved slightly in September 2020, witnessing only a 0.6% increase over the previous month even though the index was nearly 5.8% higher year on year. The region has been leading the post-COVID-19 recovery since July 2020 and touching new highs over the past few months to reach 151.8 points, the highest-ever figure, in September.
The port throughput index for Asia (except China) remained stagnant with no monthly change in September 2020. However, the region has entered into the positive annual growth territory with 2% year-on-year increase in port volumes. The three big hubs of the region – Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang – contributed the most to this annual growth.
North America’s throughput increased monthly as well as annually in September 2020. The index reached 151.2 points during the month, with a number of ports including Long Beach, Seattle and Montreal reporting high month-on-month gains.
The index for Latin America, which was impacted by Covid later than other markets, witnessed monthly as well as annual declines in September 2020. The monthly decline for Latin America was only 0.4%, but the annual decline was a steeper 13.3% (16.9 points). The scale of the year-on-year contraction is partly a correction because in September 2019 a number of service changes were introduced which increased the transhipment traffic.
Meanwhile, Europe’s index reached 116 by increasing slightly (0.4%) over August 2020, but 2.7% (3.2 points) lower year on year. As we move into Q420 the region is struggling with the second wave of COVID-19, as well as rising port congestion levels which will continue to dampen port volume growth.
The index for the Middle East and South Asia grew 1.1% monthly and 2.0% annually. However, analysing the monthly figures in more detail shows that the driver of growth is the South Asian ports, with Middle Eastern ports performance in September 2020 stable compared to August 2020.
The ports in the Oceania region were severely affected by the ongoing congestion, which is reflected in the 9.8% monthly (-4.5% annual) decline in the region’s throughput index to 123.4 points. Africa’s port throughput index was slightly (0.5%) higher than in August 2020 but about 5% lower than in September 2019. The index for Africa is however based on a small sample.