Baltic Dry Index Hits 12-Year High

Strong demand to move cargo coupled with weather-related shipping constraints in a number of key corridors has helped take ocean freight rates to their highest levels in more than a decade.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), which is a major indicator of shipping rates, settled at 4,275 points on Friday, marking its highest level since November 2009. The index hit a low of 393 points in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first started disrupting global movement.

The panamax index was up for its seventh-straight session, hitting 3,904 points. Average daily earnings for the 60,000- to 70,000-tonne vessels that commonly carry grain or coal were pegged at US$35,138.

The BDI is compiled by the London-based Baltic Exchange and provides an assessment of the price of moving major raw materials by sea. The overall BDI includes sub-sectors for the different classes of ocean vessels – including capesize, panamax and supramax.

Canadian grain exports through the first six weeks of the 2021/22 crop year are running well behind the previous year's pace - although tight supplies of most major crops due to the Prairie drought likely have more to do with the current slowdown than the high shipping rates.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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