The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, extended gains for the fourth straight session on Wednesday on the back of a robust capesize demand.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, rose 47 points, or 2.3%, to 2,105- its highest since late July 2022.

The capesize index gained 90 points, or 2.5%, to a nearly 17-month high of 3,749.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transports 150,000-tonne cargoes carrying commodities such as iron ore and coal, increased by $741 to $31,089.

“A tight North Atlantic market, along with increased coal shipments to Europe, have bolstered rates(in the capesize sector), despite weaker iron ore exports from Brazil and Western Australia”, Intermodal shipbroking said in a Tuesday note.

Meanwhile, Iron ore futures retreated as lower-than-expected steel output, and a protracted property crisis fueled concerns over the demand outlook in the world’s largest consumer.

The panamax index rose by 54 points or 3.5% to 1,619.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carries about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes of coal or grain, gained $481 to $14,568.

“In the Panamax sector, a surge in cargo demand occurred in the Pacific market following the conclusion of the Chinese holidays, leading to rate increases”, the note added.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index added 8 points to 1,285. It rose for the seventh consecutive session.

Source: Reuters reported by Tina Parate in Bengaluru and edited by Tasim Zahid