The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Thursday, on surging capesize demand and improved activity across vessel segments.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, rose 17 points or 3.4 percent to 517 points.
The capesize index surged 85 points, or about 18 percent, to 562 points. The index has gained more than three-fold over the last one month, having touched an all-time low of 161 points on March 7.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, soared $506 to $4,533.
Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes are likely to hold steady next week near four-month highs if owners continue to reactivate idle tonnage on upbeat cargo demand, ship brokers said on Thursday.
"Fleet growth is likely to come down to zero and even negative growth by the end of the year due to newbuild cancellations and scrapping of old ships," ship brokerage firm Clarksons Platou said in note on Thursday.
"It is therefore a waiting game for demand growth to turn positive again."
The panamax index was up 8 points at 627 points, the highest level for the index since early November.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, rose $63 to $5003.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index three points to 485 points, while the handysize index was up two point to 280 points.
(Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru)