North American ports improved their performance: Drewry

North American ports performed well in May and the region’s index hit a record 171.0 points for the month, according to the Drewry World Container Index.

Overall, the Drewry Container Port Throughput Rates are a series of volume growth/decline rates based on monthly throughput data for a sample of more than 235 ports worldwide, representing more than 75% of global volumes.

The base point of the indices is January 2012 = 100.

North American ports

As a whole, the region’s ports registered a growth of more than 40% per year and 9% per month.

In particular, the top three North American ports -Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York- posted year-on-year gains of 44.4, 74.0, and 48.2% in May, respectively.

Between them, these three ports handled an additional 1 million TEU (MTEU) compared to May 2020.

The Port of Los Angeles exceeded the monthly mark of 1 MTEU for the first time in its history.

However, the rapid growth in demand has come at a cost, as the region has been struggling with severe congestion since late 2020, with vessel queues at nearly all major ports of entry.

Globally, the Drewry Harbor Performance Index rose to 141.3 points in May 2021, a 3.3 point increase from April, which was almost enough to restore it to the March reading.

Until then, the annual growth of 15.8% in the month confirms that the recovery in world volume shows no signs of slowing down.

Drewry projects container production to increase further during the peak season of the third quarter of 2021, after which a modest seasonal slowdown is anticipated in the final quarter.

Growth forecasts remain highly sensitive to Covid-19 developments.


The Greater China Ports Index posted a 9.8% year-on-year increase in May with growth mainly concentrated in China‘s main gateways.

The six main ports (Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Xiamen) accounted for about 90% of the volume growth, representing more than 65% of the region’s total throughput.

Likewise, Drewry expects China’s yield growth in full year 2021 to be the highest in 10 years.

The May performance index for Asia (excluding China) increased only 1.4% month-over-month, to 134.6 points, but the annual comparison showed an increase of 15.8% with the three main regional centers (Singapore, Port Kelang and Busan), with double-digit annual growth.

In percentage terms, Port Kelang recorded the highest growth (33%), while in absolute terms, Singapore topped the list by handling 3.2 MTEUs, an increase of 410,183 TEUs from April 2021.

The Latin America index also had a solid performance, with a monthly increase of 4.7% and an annual increase of 17.8% in May.