The Los family's shipping roots are traced back to the second half of the 19th century. The family's founder, Matheos Stam. Los, owner of a 350 ton sailing schooner, actively participated in the Black Sea wheat trade. Later on he built in Syros the 400 ton brig "Profitis Elias". After his sudden death, caused by a stroke in 1886, the "Profitis Elias" command was assumed by his eldest son Dimitris who was only sixteen years old.
Matheos Los' sons and successors of the family business were Dimitris, Simos, Pantelis, Antonis and Kostis. The family turned to steam driven ships in 1914 with Dimitris buying the 1150 ton S/S "Eleni", and the other brothers buying the S/S "Alexandra" of the same capacity. Both ships were later sold in 1916. In 1921, Kostis, Pantelis, Simos and Antonis bought the 4,300 ton "Matheos" and in 1922 Dimitris bought the 4,000 ton S/S "Eleni". In 1925, Kostis with Simos bought the 6,500 ton S/S "Delfin", which was torpedoed during World War II and when Greece was still neutral (October 1939). The "Matheos" and the "Eleni" had already been sold before the outbreak of war. The end of the war marked the start of the career of Kostis Los' (1871-1962) sons, Tassos (1911-1966), Dimitris (1915-2005), Giorgis (1917-2007), Nikos (born 1919) and Antonis (born 1925). Out of Kostis Los' six sons, the eldest brother Matheos was unfortunately missing, having been killed in the bombing of the port of Chios during the German occupation, while Giorgis left the family firm later on.
The growth of Kostis Los' sons' business activities during the first post-war years is associated with the Liberty type ships. In 1947 they took on two of the one hundred Liberties that were sold by the U.S.A. with the guarantee of the Greek State, the "Costis Los" and the "Igor". Later on they increased the size of their fleet by taking on more Liberties in the free market. During the first years of the post-war period and up to 1954 they partnered with a coal merchant from Propontis, Apostolos Pezas, in order to purchase the Liberties. During this period the company offices were established in New York ("Martran Steamship Co. Inc") and in London ("C.M.Los (London) Ltd"). In the beginning of the 1950's the Los brothers turned for the first time to new-buildings by ordering two general cargo ships in British yards, the "Costis" and the "Ayia Markella". During the next years they continue to focus on the same type ships, this time, three ships in Japanese yards, the "Panayia Moutsaina", the "Maria L" and the "Profitis Elias". They were among the first Greeks who looked toward Japanese built tonnage.
In 1960, "Vrontados Shipping Co. Ltd." was established in Piraeus, operating the ships since then. Since the beginning of the 1960's the company's main interest is concentrated in modern dry cargo ships (bulk carriers) and therefore the shipbuilding plan includes only ships of such type. The ships they undertook delivery of, always from Japanese yards, gradually replaced, up to 1962, the Liberties which had formed the backbone of the fleet during the first post-war years (a total of 15 Liberties were operated by the Los family Company). Up to the beginning of the 1970's the newly built fleet consisted mainly of handy-max bulk carriers, the "Ero", "Kaity", "Anastassia" and "Capetan Tassos". It was then for the first time, that they chose to expand into larger capacity type ships and they undertook an order in Japan for two panamax OBO's, the "Demetrios" and the "Dimitris L". In 1977, two very modern "Future 32" type bulk carriers were added to the fleet. They were the IHI built "Costis" and "Maria L" and later, in 1984, two same type ships, the "Pacific Ocean" and the "Pacific Wave" were also delivered.
The Los family has also shown substantial social activities and has contributed towards the development of their home town, Vrontados and generally of Chios island, mainly by developing and maintaining, since the 1960's, a complete beach and marine sports complex situated in Los Bay, in Vrontados, through the Kostis Los Sons Public Welfare Foundation. Also worth mentioning are the improvement of the water main in Vrontados, already since the years of the late Kostis Los and the construction of a stadium in the village of Pyrgi by Nikos K. Los. Their contribution towards the preservation and knowledge of the local maritime history by creating the Maritime Museum of Chios is also very substantial. Co-founders of the Museum are Nikos and Antonis K. Los, members of the Anastasios and Marouko Pateras Foundation.
There are three dominant elements that are characteristic in the family's course during the post-war period. The first is connected with the family's strategy to form a fleet of newly built ships, as expansion and renewal was always based on newbuildings and only rarely on second hand ships. The Los Brothers invariable policy was that the ships be meticulously maintained and manned, particularly with Greek crews, so that quality operation could be obtained throughout their commercial life. The second is the company's specialization in dry bulk cargoes, with very few exceptions of operation of tankers and mixed cargo carriers. Over the years, an invaluable know-how was developed, as well as fruitful collaborations with the most eminent charterers in the business.
The third element is connected with the family's business philosophy, whose basic keystone was to always maintain a quality fleet of such size that could be managed and controlled on the basis of the principles and beliefs of the family members. What we have here is the classic practice of the "few and good" ships philosophy that is characteristic of the traditional Greek shippers. Since the beginning of the 1980's the management of the family company has been assumed by the fourth generation of Los, the members of which continue to apply the strategic courses and the business philosophy of the previous generations.
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