The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Wednesday, supported by rising demand for panamax vessels.
The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping cargoes including iron ore, cement
, grain and coal, inched up by one point, or 0.21 percent, to 475 points.
The index hit an all-time low of 471 points on Dec. 16, the lowest in records that date back to January 1985.
The highest ever level reached by the index, seen by investors as an indicator of global industrial activity, was on May 20, 2008 when it touched 11,793 points.
Chinese imports of coal and iron ore have remained weak in recent months and worries over the health of the global economy have also dented dry bulk shipping prospects.
The panamax index gained 12 points, or 2.77 percent, and now stands at 457 points.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, rose $97 to $3,651.
The capesize index, shed 16 points to 469 points, as average daily earnings fell $61 to $4,897. Capesizes typically transport 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index added a point to 450 points, and the handysize index slipped one point to 270 points.
(Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru)