World Container Throughput, 1980-2021

World Container Throughput, 1980-2021

The large-scale container adoption combined with the globalization process drove the global container port growth rates consistently between 5% and 10% since the 1980s. Throughput grew from 36 million TEU in 1980 to 237 million TEU in 2000, 545 million TEU in 2010, and more than 740 million TEU in 2017. Just before the Covid-19 pandemic, global container throughput reached approximately 802 million TEU in 2019, increasing by 2.3% compared to 2018, including full and empty containers that account respectively for 80% and 20% of the maritime traffic. Similar to the financial crisis of 2008-09, the Covid-19 pandemic represented the only two events when growth went negative. In both cases, the decline was associated with a drop in discretionary spending, which was more lasting and significant during the 2008-09 financial crisis. Still, in 2021, container traffic resumed its growth to reach 849 million TEUs.