Lidl had already registered the brand name at the end of February with the EUIPO, the European Union’s intellectual property office. The registration also shows that it is not only a container shipping company, but that the German grocery price fighter also looks at ‘air freight transport, forwarding and handling services’.
The initiative is intended to ‘partially replace’ existing capacity at container shipping companies and forwarders, the Lidl Foundation confirms after first reports in the German food trade media.
The largest supermarketeer in Europe also says that with its own shipping company it wants to be able to “manage the increased volumes of various production locations in the world itself for a long time and partly flexibly”.
Details are currently lacking about the ships, routes and sailing lists, but according to German ship brokers, the persistent rumor has been circulating in German ports for some time that Lidl wants to start the first container services through chartered ships from the middle of this year. This would concern scheduled services between the Far East and the EU. The supermarket chain has also been looking for experienced managers of shipping companies in various German ports for some time. This indicates that the supermarket chain is not letting grass grow on it.
Lidl is going a lot further with setting up its own container carrier than other large shippers such as Ikea and the American Costco. As a measure against the sharply increased container rates, they have only chartered their own ships. The rest of the business operations, such as stowage, fuel purchase and the supply and removal of containers, are left to market parties by the large cargo providers.
According to several experts in Germany, Lidl can also make use of independent German shipping agents in the start-up phase, who represent various shipping companies in the ports of Hamburg and Bremen.
It is unclear what amount of container cargo Lidl has had annually transported by the existing container shipping companies, but conservative estimates are based on more than one million teu. It is to be expected that Lidl will not act alone, but that, for example, the volumes of sister company Kaufland will also be transferred to its new own shipping company.