Kriton Lendoudis has taken the market by surprise, declaring two more options for 88,000-cbm VLGCs in South Korea.

This brings to seven the number of VLGCs the Greek owner has under construction at Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE).

Managers at Lendoudis company Evalend Shipping did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shipping sources following the LPG and shipbuilding markets in London and the Far East, however, are identifying the Athens outfit as the “African shipper” that KSOE said on Friday placed a KRW 240.8bn ($195m) order for two vessels.

KSOE said the pair will be built at its Ulsan yard for delivery by the first half of 2026.

Sources are telling TradeWinds that the delivery schedule runs between December 2025 for the first vessel and March 2026 for the second.

An additional two sisterships may follow in the second and third quarter of 2026, the sources said, if Evalend declares another pair of options it took.

These orders swell the owner’s VLGC newbuilding orderbook to proportions that raise the eyebrows of people following the business.

“They’ve built a huge position of unfixed vessels,” one said.

Including the latest pair, Evalend has placed firm orders for seven 88,000-cbm newbuildings with KSOE shipyards since last September, with delivery from the second half of 2024 onwards.

The septet is additional to the two 91,000-cbm newbuildings Pacificator and Legislator (both built 2022) that it took delivery of from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries last year, and for which it has already found employment.

A third 91,000-cbm vessel in that series, the Mercator, is to follow in spring.

Can carry ammonia as well

Employment opportunities for the at least seven 88,000-cbm ships Evalend will receive in the future are enhanced by their capacity to carry not just LPG, but also ammonia.

“Ammonia … has been drawing attention as a next-generation eco-friendly energy source,” KSOE said in its bourse filing on 20 January.

Εvalend has also shown that it is willing to sell LPG carrier newbuildings, if it receives a good price.

Late last year, it divested the 39,200-cbm newbuilding Mangusta (built 2022) to Purus Marine. The vessel reportedly fetched $59.5m, possibly including a time charter to Koch.

Lendoudis, who celebrated Εvalend’s 50th birthday during Posidonia last year, also has a fleet of more than 30 bulkers and about 10 tankers in the water.

Greeks have been driving KSOE’s gas carrier newbuilding business this year.

The shipyard has clinched orders this month to construct seven gas carriers: Evalend’s VLGCs, three LNG carriers for George Procopiou’s Dynagas and two LNG carriers for Evangelos Marinakis’ Capital Gas.

KSOE unites three subsidiaries under its wing — Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Hyundai Samho.

High-priced vessels and cost-cutting efforts helped the group return to profit in the third quarter of its 2022 financial year, after spilling red ink on the three previous quarters.

(Irene Ang and Lucy Hine contributed to this article)