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Global Scramble for Commodities Sends Shipping Prices Soaring

  • Baltic Exchange’s dry index near highest since June 2010
  • Iron ore has surged above $200 a ton amid accelerating demand
Soybeans are loaded into a dry bulk vessel.

Soybeans are loaded into a dry bulk vessel.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The super-charged rally in commodity prices has made shipping more expensive than any time in the past decade, reviving the fortunes of an industry that was on its knees just a year ago.

The scale of the boom, with red-hot demand almost everywhere on the back of a broad economic recovery and vast stimulus programs, has stretched global shipping as products such as soybeans and logs compete with traditional cargo mainstays of coal and iron ore. The surge also highlights the pressures the commodities industry is under to meet that growth.