German retailer Lidl charters and buys container ships for its new line

The German hypermarket chain has four container ships to launch its internal shipping operation (Lid)

Posted on April 12, 2022 at 7:46 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

A week after news broke that German retail giant Lidl, part of the Schwarz Group, had filed a trademark to launch a new shipping line to carry its goods, the company is said to have struck deals to charter three ships and acquire one. fourth. Based on current vessel charter arrangements, observers expect Lidl to launch operations for Tailwind Shipping Lines in the coming months.

The operator of hypermarkets in Europe is part of the fifth largest retailer in the world and would have been seek more consistency and flexibility in the management of certain parts of its supply chain. German media reports suggest Lidl will operate its ships alongside major shipping companies and continue to work with carriers for some of its transportation needs. Lidl has confirmed that in future it plans to move some of its volume, which will be between 400 and 500 TEU per week, to its own vessels.

According to consultancy Alphaliner, the retailer has chartered three smaller container ships for two years and will acquire the fourth vessel. They identify chartered vessels from Peter Dohle Schiffahrt of Hamburg which owns and manages container ships. Lidl charters sister ships Wiking and Jadrana according to Alphaliner. Both vessels were built in China and delivered in 2014 and 2016. Each has a carrying capacity of 4,957 20ft boxes or 2,430 40ft boxes, including reefer caps for 600 containers. Each of the vessels is 836 feet long and 58,000 dwt.

Peter Dohle is also said to have arranged for Lidl to buy a third ship on Talassia, built in China and delivered in 2005. The 68,288 dwt vessel can carry up to 5,527 20ft boxes and has 500 reefer plugs. There were no details of the price paid for the vessel.

Michael Vinnen, Director of FA Vinnen & Co. has confirmed to the media saying that his company has chartered the 51,000 dwt Merkur Ocean at Tailwind. On his LinkedIn account, he writes: “We look forward to working with Tailwind Shipping Lines and are proud that they have chosen our vessel. So don’t forget to shop at Lidl Markets to keep our ship fully loaded. the Merkur Ocean has a capacity of 3,868 TEU including 500 refrigerated sockets.

Lidl declined to provide details of its shipping plans, but Alphaliner assumes the ships will operate between Asia and Europe. The company has more than 11,000 stores claiming to be active in 32 countries, including an entry into the eastern United States in recent years. They speculate that the first sailing will begin this summer.

The German newspaper Handelsblatt points out that Lidl is not the first German company to seek better control of its shipments. According to Handelsblatt, companies such as Esprit, Christ, Mango, Home 24 and Swiss Coop have teamed up using the Xstaff Group to manage the transport. The company is said to have undertaken several individual voyage charters for a vessel named Laila, a 2,700 TEU container ship operated by CULines. However, Lidl is the first to buy a container ship as well as to charter long-term vessels.

At the height of supply chain disruptions and backlogs, a series of US retail companies reported that they had also chartered ships to transport goods from Asia, but again, there these were only short term charters often using bulk carriers to fill the gap in container carrying capacity. .

James R. Rhodes