Lidl’s first container ship enters service

Lidl’s first container ship

Now that MS Wiking has entered service, Lidl’s container shipping line has become a reality. Operated by the German shipping company Tailwind Shipping Lines, which was founded by the supermarket chain, the ship left China on 18 July and recently docked at the Port of Rotterdam.

Lidl decided to set up its own container shipping company in order to reduce its dependence on external logistics services. The creation of Tailwind Shipping Lines also means that the grocery retailer can avoid some of the current problems in container shipping, such as delays and high transport prices.

Besides sea freight and air freight, the scope of the newly formed company also includes the transportation, packing and storage of goods. However, as the name suggests, the primary focus is on container shipping and related services.

Guaranteed sailings

Tailwind has initially launched the new container shipping line between three ports in China and three European ports: in Koper (Slovenia), Barcelona (Spain) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands). The company is targeting a limited number of customers with steady, solid cargo flows between Europe and China, and is offering them a guaranteed sailing option.

According to Jan Grossbruchhaus, Trade Manager at Tailwind, many shipments to Europe from China and Asia have suffered several months of delays in recent years. As a result, retail stores were left waiting for products, and manufacturers were forced to adjust their production schedules due to raw material shortages.

Euro Nordic

Euro Nordic acts as the general agent for Tailwind Shipping Lines in the Netherlands. It is a well-established shipping and liner service agent for the Dutch and Belgian seaports. In addition, Euro Nordic is active as an all-round logistics service provider and has specialized in total logistics concepts for various markets.

Kees Groeneveld, CEO of Euro Nordic, is delighted that Tailwind chose his company. “Tailwind is a dedicated niche carrier and that’s a perfect fit with Euro Nordic’s philosophy. A niche player is less interested in big volumes, and prioritizes solid reliability and added value for customers instead.”

Alternative for rail freight

The new liner service operates four vessels, each with a capacity of 5,000 TEU. The service docks at a European port every 16 days. The transit time between the last port in China (Da Chang Bay) and the first port in Europe (Koper) is just 18 days, making the service an interesting alternative to rail freight between China and Europe. The transit time for export cargo from Rotterdam to China is 28 days.