German retailer Lidl launches shipping line to buy container ships

Lidl wants greater flexibility in the supply chain of its 11,000 stores (photo Lidl US)

Posted on April 5, 2022 at 4:28 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

German retail giant Lidl, part of the Schwarz Group, the world’s fifth-largest retailer, reportedly has a unique solution to the supply chain frustrations plaguing retailers around the world. They plan to start a shipping line and buy container ships to maintain their flow of goods.

The company, which operates hypermarkets in Europe and has in recent years begun to expand into the United States, has filed an application with the European Trademark Office to register the brand name Tailwind Shipping Line. According to the filing, the company intends to use the new operation for the transportation and delivery of goods, including freight transportation; cargo transportation; air cargo transportation; Import and export cargo handling services.

News that the retailer is in negotiations with shipping companies was first reported in German trade publication Lebensmittel-Zeitung and later confirmed by the company to a wide range of German media. Lidl, which operates around 11,200 stores and is active in 32 countries, is reportedly seeking more consistency and flexibility in managing parts of its supply chain. The trade publication reports that Lidl first sought to invest in an existing shipping company before deciding to set up its own shipping company and buy ships.

“We can confirm that Lidl will use some of its own sea freight capacity in the future. This is another building block to secure our supply chains and the availability of goods at our branches,” a carrier said. word of the company to the German publication Manager Magazin. .

Reports indicate that the retailer currently has a volume of 400-500 TEU per week, presumably for its operations in Germany or throughout Europe. There was no indication of how many ships they planned to buy or which routes they planned to operate.

Lidl is not the first retailer to expand into shipping recently. As of 2021, a wide range of companies, including Amazon, Ikea, Home Depot and Dollar Tree, as well as suppliers to Walmart, each reported chartering ships to move containers from Asia. fedex launched shipping container service from Asia on chartered bulk carriers offering shippers the ability to move cargo to California while the company is also taking delivery of new containers in China for use with its shore freight services in the United States.

Furniture company Loctek, which manufactures its standing desk in Shenzhen, however, was the first to order a new container ship construction. In January 2022, the company said in a stock filing that it had contracted with Huanghai Shipbuilding Co., located in Shandong Province, China, to build a $32.8 million container ship. dollars that will be delivered by March 31, 2023.