In 1985 the Baltic introduced the Baltic Freight Index (BFI), a list of predefined routes, covering various dry cargo commodities. Baltic broking members (“panellists”) provided rates daily which were then averaged and published to the market. Today the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is today the most widely used market indicator of the dry bulk shipping market. The resulting BIFFEX contract enabled shipowners and charterers to hedge against adverse freight rates through buying or selling of a ‘paper’ or freight derivatives contract settled in cash. This ultimately led to the development of the Forward Freight Agreement (FFA) market.

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