June container throughput down, but global recovery on track

Sunrise in busy container terminal in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Container throughput fell for June 2021 according to shipping analysts Drewry – but annual growth of over 11% confirms that global recovery remains on track.

In its latest assessment on the Drewry Container Port Throughput Indices, port throughput index fell by 2.2% in June 2021. However, throughput has increased by 11.1% on the year.

Throughput growth is projected to continue into the 3Q2021 peak season, but slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Greater China ports index declined slightly month-on-month (0.9%) in June 2021 – largely due to the congestion at Yantian, following the port’s temporary closure in late May as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.

© Drewry

Congestion also spread to Hong Kong, which witnessed an 8% monthly decline in June 2021, but the leading central and northern China ports all reported growth.

After reaching the record-high level of 171.2 points in May 2021, the North American ports throughput index fell by 8.5% to 156.7 in June 2021, but it is still 27.5% higher than in June 2020.

Congestion “remains a major problem” across a growing number of US ports, Drewry notes. Volumes for June were down at Long Beach and Los Angeles as a result of the Yantian closure.

The European Port throughput index remained unchanged at 123.4 points for April, May, and June 2021. Drewry adds that the index is up by just 0.7% compared to 2019 levels – indicating that the European trade recovery is lagging behind other markets.

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.

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