SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korean shippers, led by industry leader HMM Co., are forecast to post strong earnings in the third quarter of the year on the back of increased fare and a drop in fuel costs, industry sources said Sunday.

“A gradual recovery in global maritime cargo volume pushed up global freight rates as the supply of cargo service fell short of rising demand,” Jung Yeon-sung, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said in his recent report.

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, a barometer of global freight rates, came to 1,448.87 on Friday, more than doubling from a year ago and marking the highest level since July 2012.

Boding well for their earnings, their fuel costs decreased due to a fall in international crude prices.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices for November delivery closed at US$40.88 a barrel on Friday, sharply down from the $60 mark early this year.

Bulk carriers such as Pan Ocean Co. and Korea Line Corp. are also predicted to show improved earnings in the July-September period as the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a measurement of shipping costs for commodities, came to 2,097 on Oct. 6, the highest level this year.