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Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. , a leading worldwide seaborne transporter for dry bulk cargoes, recently improved and consolidated the time charter contracts for its fleets. The company announced that it has entered into 1-year time charter agreement with the first class European charterers for its Kamsarmax vessel M/V Iron Vassilis and Panamax vessel M/V Happy Day.

The Kamsarmax vessel has 82,257 dwt carrying capacity and will be employed for a gross daily average TC rate of $14,000 during the period. The Panamax vessel has 71,694 dwt carrying capacity and will be employed for a gross daily average TC rate of $13,000 during the period.

With these two new time charter deals, currently Excel Maritime secured under time charter employment of 78% of its operating days for the rest of 2011. The situation has markedly improved from where it was at the end of the first quarter of 2011. At that time, management announced that it secured just 65% of its operating days for the rest of 2011 under time charter employment. Additionally, Excel Maritime has already secured under time charter employment of 44% of its operating days for 2012. 

Further, Excel Maritime also secured under time charter employment of 92% and 79% of operating days for its Capesize vessels for fiscal 2011 and 2012, respectively. Reduction of large spot exposure will undoubtedly help Excel Maritime to consolidate its financials going forward. The drybulk shipping industry is going through a very difficult period, when the spot vessel rates collapsed even below the rate during the recession.

Excel Maritime operates under highly competitive drybulk shipping industry. Its main competitors are Diana Shipping Inc. (DSX - Snapshot Report), Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. , and DryShips Inc. (DRYS - Analyst Report).The company took a severe hit on its time charter equivalent rate in the last quarter.In the first quarter of 2011, the realized average daily time charter equivalent rate of Excel Maritime was $19,642, a stiff reduction of nearly 19.7% year over year.

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