The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Tuesday on lower rates for capesize and panamax vessels.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, was down 13 points, or 1.09 percent, at 1,179 points.
The capesize index fell 63 points, or 4.42 percent, to 1,362 points, the lowest level since Aug. 1, 2017.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $396 at $10,810.
Iron ore demand has been slow amid hefty steel stocks in China built by traders in anticipation of a strong pickup in construction demand after last month's Lunar New Year that has yet to show.
The capesize segment could see a reversal in the latter half of March, Allied Shipbroking said in a note on Monday.
The panamax index edged 1 point lower to 1,623 points, recording its first decline in seven days.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased by $9 to $13,025.
The supramax index rose 9 points to 1,049 points.
(Reporting by Arpan Varghese)