What an exciting feeling it is to stand on the quayside and watch the gigantic ships in the harbour. The thrill of hearing a ship blow it sworn as it leaves Cape Town docks. Tugs towing a huge container ship into harbour to its moorings.
The raw materials, dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilisers that are shipped on the sea routes around the world give a good indication of the level of global economic activity.
The main sea freight index, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), tracks freight costs on 23 shipping routes (not just the Baltic Sea countries), covering carriers including Handysize, Supramax, Panamax and Capesize dry bulk (for the ship classifications and sizes see Wikipedia (“Dry Baltic Index”). The index indirectly measures global supply and demand for commodities shipped aboard dry bulk carriers.