The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities extended gains on Thursday, mainly propelled by firmer demand for bigger shipping vessels.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, climbed 30 points, or 5.29 percent to 597 points.
The capesize index rose 87 points, or about 12 percent, to 831 points, its highest this year.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $669 to $6,184.
A healthy amount of iron ore booking activity on the back of stronger Chinese steel prices
has been the main driver of the improvement for capesizes, ship brokerage firm Clarksons Platou said
in note on Thursday. Shipments of iron ore account for about a third of sea-borne volumes on the larger capesizes.
The panamax index was up 22 points, or 3.24 percent, at 700 points.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, rose $170 to $5,577 on Thursday.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose 8 points to 514 points, and the handysize index was up 13 points at 309 points.
(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru)