Quintana Maritime Limited priced its two remaining Kamsarmaxes, Iron Brooke (ex Bulk 16) and Iron Manolis (ex Bulk 17), under its master time charter with Bunge S.A. at an average daily rate of $25,000 per day for 2007. These vessels, which Quintana has agreed to acquire from Metrobulk, are expected to be delivered to Quintana ex yard between March and May 2007.
Having priced these two Kamsarmaxes, Quintana Maritime has fixed the rates for all seventeen vessels it has acquired or has agreed to acquire from Metrobulk. For 2007, seven Kamsarmaxes and two Panamaxes have been fixed at an average daily rate of $23,000, five Kamsarmaxes have been fixed at an average daily rate of $20,000 and two Kamsarmaxes have been fixed at an average daily rate of $25,000. An additional Panamax, Grain Harvester (ex Bulk 3), is already on time charter with Bunge through September 2009 at $20,000 per day and was delivered to Quintana earlier this month. The master charter agreement with Bunge S.A calls for annual renewals in early November every year, between floor and ceiling rates, and lasts through the end of 2010.
As a result of these fixtures, Quintana has secured almost 89% of its expected net operating days for 2007 under charters with fixed rates. Quintana believes it currently enjoys the highest time charter coverage amongst its public peers.
Stamatis Molaris, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quintana Maritime, commented, "We are very pleased to announce that we have by now priced under the master agreement with Bunge all seventeen vessels we have acquired or agreed to acquire from Metrobulk. We have concluded the pricing of these fixtures well ahead of the scheduled price negotiations with Bunge and prior to the delivery of most of these vessels to Quintana. Furthermore, as we have priced these fixtures in stages, we have been able to share into the market's continued upside.
"Our fleet deployment strategy demonstrates the advantages of the unique structure of the Bunge master agreement, which enables us to enhance the stability and predictability of our earnings, while at the same time to share into the market's strength. This is within the context of our strategy of pursuing stable growth with consistent delivery of dividends to our shareholders."
In addition, Quintana took delivery of its sixth Kamsarmax bulk carrier, Ore Hansa, from Metrobulk. Ore Hansa has a carrying capacity of 82,224 deadweight tons (dwt) and was built in April 2006 at Tsuneishi, a Japanese shipyard. To date, Quintana Maritime has taken delivery of seven vessels out of the total of seventeen vessels it has agreed to acquire from Metrobulk.
As previously announced, Ore Hansa, together with eight other vessels, is employed under a master time charter agreement with Bunge S.A. at an average daily rate of approximately $23,000 for 2007