Higher vessel rates drive up Baltic index to over 11-year peak


The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rallied to its highest in more than 11 years on Friday, fueled by strong demand across vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, jumped to 3,566, up about 2% or 63 points, at its highest level since mid 2010.

The main index also registered a 5.8% gain for the week, its best in eight.

The capesize index advanced to a four-month high at 4,766 points, or 3.4%. The capesize segment also marked a fourth straight weekly rise, up 9.3%.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose by $1,309 to $39,526.

Ports and shipping companies are diverting vessels from a container terminal in China’s busiest marine transportation hub which was forced to close after a coronavirus case emerged, as the pandemic strains global supply amid rising retail orders.

The panamax index went up to 16 points, or 0.5%, its highest since July 21 at 3,566. The index rose 3.4% this week.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased by $143 to $32,092.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index hit a fresh all-time high as per Refinitiv Eikon data available since 2017, rising about 19 points to 3,098.

Source: Reuters