The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which gauges the cost of shipping bulk commodities such as iron ore, grain, coal and fertiliser, rose for the eighth straight day on Wednesday, reflecting firm demand for capesize and panamax vessels.

* The overall index, which factors in the average daily earnings of capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels, gained 72 points, or 3.75 percent, to 1,994 points.

* The Baltic’s capesize index rose by 165 points, or 4.98 percent, to 3,481 points.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which usually transport 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up 6.87 percent or $1,858 at $28,899.

* The Baltic’s panamax index gained 54 points, or 3.10 percent, to 1,795.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually transport 60,000-70,000 tonne cargoes of coal or grain, rose $435 to $14,338.

* Shipments of iron ore account for about a third of seaborne volumes on the larger capesizes, and iron ore price developments remain a key factor for dry freight.

* Spot iron ore jumped to a three-month high above $138 a tonne, spurred by Chinese mills replenishing winter supplies and traders anticipating further price gains amid a better outlook for the economy.