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Main sea freight index at Baltic Exchange continues to drop to 949 points

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LONDON (Scrap Register): The main sea freight index at Baltic Exchange for ships carrying dry bulk commodities continued to drop on Monday mainly on a drop in cape and supramax indices.

The Baltic Dry Index, which provides an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials – such as coal, iron ore and grain – by sea by taking in 23 shipping routes measured on a time charter basis, dropped by another 14 points to 949 points on Monday.

Typically the BDI sees downside pressure in January amid a seasonal lull, but so far the index has held up fairly strong. Charter rates gathered support last week as heavy pollution in northern China created a backlog of vessels waiting to be unloaded at ports.

Capesize and panamax vessels carrying iron ore and coal were impacted. This backlog disrupted sailing schedules and Australian miners had to pay higher rates to ship the commodities to the Tianjin and Caofeidan ports, according to Reuters data. Meanwhile, bad weather in eastern Australia and the potential for a cyclone in Western Australia could disrupt loading at Australian ports.

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