For Lidl Security of Supply is Paramount

We’ve reported before how Lidl set up its own shipping company, Tailwind, a few years ago, much to the distress of the container ship industry, and viewed with skepticism by other retailers because of the high costs.

While the discounter started with three ships it has been expanding the fleet, with nine ships now in operation, some owned, some chartered, and more being added. It demonstrates Lidl’s ambition and trust in securing its own supply chains.

The ships sail between three ports in China, a port in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and three ports in Europe: Barcelona, Koper (Slovenia) and Moerdijk (Netherlands). From the European ports, the goods are transported by truck, but mainly and preferably, by train and inland waterway vessels to their various destinations.

In Germany, Lidl has alerted its freight forwarders that it is pushing for more electric vehicles for heavy goods transport. The company says its aim for electrification is the biggest transformation in transport in decades. In order for the change to e-vehicles to work, freight forwarders, truck manufacturers, DCs and retailers need to work together and change the infrastructure, provide charging stations, educate drivers, and implement new energy supply systems for the electric trucks.

The retailer is also expanding its investments in production. In the past years, Lidl’s parent company Schwarz has been buying water and nuts suppliers, chocolate and coffee producers, bakery and ice cream companies, all to “secure and maintain product availability”, according to the company.