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Ship Rates Surge Most Since ’09 as China’s Iron-Ore Imports Rise

The cost of shipping raw materials surged the most in more than four years as strengthening steel prices in China spur imports of iron ore used to make the metal, helping owners recover from the industry’s worst slump ever.

The Baltic Dry Index, a benchmark of commodity shipping rates, jumped 9.3 percent to 1,478 today, the biggest gain since June 2009, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of freight rates on more than 50 trade routes. The measure is now at the highest since January 2012, after collapsing from as high as 11,793 in 2008 because of a record shipbuilding program.