Delivery bottlenecks: Lidl wants to contain the delivery bottlenecks with its own container ships
Dusseldorf The discounter Lidl is reacting to the delivery bottlenecks from the Far East and is expected to put four container ships into service from early summer. This is reported by the Paris market observation company Alphaliner. The Aldi competitor had only recently registered the shipping company Tailwind Shipping Lines in the commercial register.
Officially, the dealer, which belongs to the Schwarz Group, keeps a low profile on the details of its new sea transport company. Lidl only confirmed that “in the future, parts of their own sea freight capacities will be used”. This is another building block for securing the supply chains and the availability of goods in the branches, he said on request. He did not want to reveal any further details.
The industry consultancy Alphaliner is now revealing the concrete plans for this. Accordingly, the Lidl shipping company will charter three freighters for its own transport of goods. They include the two sister ships “Wiking” and “Jadrana” built in 2016 by the charter shipping companies Tanke near Buxtehude and Hamburg-based Peter Döhle Schifffahrt. They each have slots for 4975 standard containers (TEU).
In addition, the 3868 TEU ship “Mercur Ocean”, which was built nine years ago and belongs to the Bremen shipping company Vinnen, is to be managed. Managing Director Michael Vinnen confirmed the deal on the Linkedin internet platform. “I will not forget to shop at Lidl so that our freighter remains fully loaded,” he commented on the planned handover. According to Alphaliner, the freighters were initially chartered for 48 months.
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Tailwind Shipping Lines bought another ship from Peter Döhle. This is the freighter built in 2005 for 5527 standard containers called “Talassa”. According to Alphaliner, the previous charter contracts for the four ships expire in early summer, so that Lidl will probably use the freighters from this point in time.
Discounters are waiting for promotional items from Asia
The Paris-based consultancy suspects that the ships will be used on the Asia-Europe routes. According to industry circles, Lidl should have a transport volume of 400 to 500 TEU per week. Broker Braemar ACM also reported that Tailwind is building a dedicated Asia-Europe service.
At the beginning of the month, Lidl logistics boss Wolf Tiedemann commented on the plans in dry words. “The aim is to be able to control the increased volume of different production facilities more flexibly in the long term,” he said. Lidl operates around 11,200 branches and is active in 32 countries, recently also on the US market.
>> Read here: Like the Schwarz group with the Lidl sister Kaufland goes on the offensive
Since the beginning of the corona crisis, retailers in particular have complained about unreliable deliveries from the Far East. This also affected the discounters, who obtain a large part of their weekly changing special items from Asia. Aldi had to postpone sales dates for its first own fashion collection in autumn because the goods had not arrived on time.
Dealers set up an association for sea freight
At times, the transport costs per container quintupled, throughout the industry promotional goods got stuck in the transport chain and only reached the branches with a delay. Retailers such as Ikea, Walmart and Home Depot have already opted to charter their own ships. Chinese furniture maker Loctek Ergonomic went a step further in January this year, ordering a 1,800-TEU newbuild from Huanghai Shipbuilding, which is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.
In Germany, on the other hand, no dealer has been known who is trying to set up his own shipping company. And Lidl also continues to rely on several providers. “We would like to emphasize that we continue to rely on the valuable and well-established cooperation with our partners on a large scale,” said a Lidl spokesman.
Other dealers want to remedy the situation with an alliance. A long time ago, companies such as Esprit, Christ, Mango, Home 24 and the Swiss Coop came together under the umbrella of the Xstaff group, which takes care of sea transport. The Düsseldorf head office has chartered the 2,700 TEU container ship “Laila” several times from the shipping company CULines, most recently for a sea transport from the Chinese port of Yantian.
A year ago, the head office explained to its members in clear terms why the association no longer relies solely on the usual shipping companies: “Extremely high freight rates, hardly any free containers and frequent delays.”
More: “Just in time doesn’t work at the moment”: Record backlog of container ships plunges world trade into chaos