Drewry’s September report on port throughput indices

  • In July 2020, the global container port throughput index bounced back strongly, crossing 130 points for the first time in 2020. Despite the rise of more than six points compared to June 2020, it was however still 4.2 points lower than in July 2019. However as the global economy starts to recover from the first wave of COVID-19 we are starting to see clear signs of demand improving.

China figures go for key milestone

  • Our China container port throughput index surpassed the key milestone of 150 points in July 2020 – no other region has ever reached this level. The index level of 151 points reached in July was 7.5 points (5.2%) higher than in June 2020, and 4.2% higher than in July 2019. This growth can be attributed to the domestic traffic expansion (top 10 ports grew 14.8% in domestic traffic) plus foreign laden container traffic as China’s exports inflated 7.2% in July.

Asia increases with 3% (excluding China volumes)

  • In Asia (except China), the index increased by 3% (3.5 points) in July but was still more than 10 points (7.8%) down as over in July 2019. While trade across the region is recovering, the demand revival has been sluggish when compared with China.

North America reports largest growth

  • The North America throughput index witnessed the largest monthly growth among all regions, moving up 17 points (13.9%) in July. However, it was still eight points lower than in July 2019. The top three ports (Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York) witnessed huge monthly growth in July, and contributed close to 44% of the growth across our 32-port sample.

Europe sees signs of recovery

  • Europe’s index recovered by 4.8% (5.2 points) and reached to 112.7 points in July, but was still lower by almost 13 points (10.2%) on an annual basis. The increasing likelhood of a full-blown second wave of the virus across the region does not bode well for a sustained recovery in port volumes.

Africa drops slightly with 0.9% only

  • Africa’s port throughput index dropped slightly to 89.6 points (0.9%) month-on-month, and was 16.5% lower compared with the same period last year. The index for Africa is however based on a small sample, heavily weighted to South Africa which was in recession even before the pandemic struck.

* Note that the index figures for Africa are based on a relatively small sample, and should be viewed with caution

# All index figures for July 2020 are preliminary, subject to change next month