The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose marginally on Thursday as steady demand for smaller vessels offset weaker rates across capesize and panamax vessels.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, rose by one point, or 0.15 percent to 670 points.
The supramax index rose 8 points to 551 points, and the handysize index was up 6 points at 348 points.
Average daily rates for the smaller shipping vessels were higher on Thursday, with supramax up $87 at $5,765 and handysize up $82 at $4,973.
The capesize index, fell 18 points, or about 2 percent to 1,004 points.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, dropped $106 to $7,639.
Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes face an uncertain outlook next week with some owners resisting charterers' attempts to push hire rates down even as freight rates nudge lower, ship brokers said.
The panamax index fell for the first time in nearly a month, down four points to 743 points.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, fell $27 to $5,921 on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Nithin Prasad and Koustav Samanta in Bengaluru)