In his own words, Kriton Lendoudis hates making speeches.
The Greek owner, however, made an exception to the rule of not delivering them on Sunday, during a glamorous pre-Posidonia show to mark his company’s 50th anniversary.
In a brief eight-minute address, Lendoudis paid special homage to his father Evangelos, the founder of Evalend Shipping, which still carries his name.
“He passed away a long time ago but he has been my inspiration, my mentor and my thoughts are every day with him,” Kriton Lendoudis said, his voice slightly cracking.
Lendoudis senior was already a successful importer of motorcycles and heavy machinery when he started investing in ships in the 1960s — first with his brother George, then alone through Evalend, which he founded in 1972.
When Evangelos Lendoudis died in 1984 he bequeathed his son Kriton half a dozen tweendeckers.
From very early on, Kriton showed his mind was set on expansion. Just one year after taking the reins at Evalend he bought his first ship — a 33,000-dwt, Japanese-built secondhand bulker he named after his father.
By the end of the 1990s, Evalend’s fleet had doubled in size to 14 secondhand bulkers.
In 2003 Lendoudis started ordering newbuildings, inking in a 20,000-dwt handysize at Imabari Shipbuilding.
About 30 more newbuildings followed since, in an ever-widening variety of ships.
Evalend entered tankers in 2007 with an order for eight chemical carriers.
LPG and VLCC newbuildings followed in 2016 and 2018 respectively, leading the company to its current size of 32 bulkers, two LPG carriers and at least five eco and scrubber-fitted VLCCs.
Lendoudis shows no sign of slowing his growth ambitions.
“Today we have an extensive newbuilding programme,” he said, revealing that Evalend has five VLGCs and four medium-size LPG carriers under construction at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries or Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), due for delivery by 2024.
On top of the gas carriers, Evalend awaits delivery by next year of two kamsarmax newbuildings currently under construction at Yangzi-Mitsui Shipbuilding (Yamic) in China.
“We’re looking forward to the future to continue growing steadily,” Lendoudis said.
The optimism was underscored by a spectacular show that followed the presentation, replete with fireworks, light shows and acrobatic dancers.
Lendoudis’s mother Vassiliki was there to see them. “I truly love her. She gave me all the values I have in life, and without her I wouldn’t be able to do many things,” the Greek shipowner said.