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China: Lidl wants to buy its own container ships

Discount Retail Chain Lidl Asia Pte. (owned by the German Schwarz Group) now wants to protect itself against the upheavals on the freight markets by buying its own ships. As the port city of Shanghai is still in lockdown, freight rates continue to rise, supply chains are disrupted.

Freight rates in international maritime traffic will not fall anytime soon. On the contrary: In view of the recently announced lockdown in the port city of Shanghai, experts even expect prices to continue to rise. Anyone who still has to ship freight, if they can get containers at all, has to dig deep into their pockets.

The German discount giant Lidl is reacting to the upheavals on the international freight markets by buying its own ships. The Schwarz discounter wants to secure its supply chains in this way. "We can confirm that Lidl will use some of its own sea freight capacities in the future. This is another building block for securing our supply chains and the availability of goods in our branches," said a spokesman on Friday when asked by manager magazin.

The “Lebensmittel-Zeitung” had previously reported exclusively on this. As a result of the upheavals on the freight markets, Lidl initially tried last year to get a stake in a shipping company, the newspaper reported. Apparently in vain - instead you buy ships.

The newly founded area already has a name. "Tailwind Shipping Lines" should be the name of the youngest child of the Schwarz group. According to the report, the application to the European Trademark Office shows that Lidl intends to use this name to transport cargo by ship or plane.

The aim is "to be able to manage the increased volume of different production facilities more flexibly in the long term," quoted the newspaper Lidl logistics board member Wolf Tiedemann. The discounter did not say how many ships Lidl intends to buy. The company has already negotiated directly with shipowners. Only a small part of the volume is handled by freight forwarders. Measured by the availability of goods in the branches, this strategy worked relatively well. According to the newspaper's research, Lidl's weekly freight volume is 400 to 500 TEU, i.e. 20-foot containers.

Lidl told manager magazin: "We would like to emphasize that we continue to rely on the valuable and well-established cooperation with our partners to a large extent."

However, Lidl is not the first company to try to protect itself against supply chain problems and high freight rates with its own freight capacities. Retailers such as Walmart and Ikea have already chartered ships. With the development of its own capacities, Lidl is now apparently going a step further.

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