Why Lidl’s shipping company is a step in the right direction – Logistics Manager

Trademark application 018662062 made to the European Union Intellectual Property Office on 25th February 2022 for ‘Tailwind Shipping Lines’ could suggest that the German supermarket retailer Lidl – part of the Schwartz retail group – is taking supply chain matters into its own hands.

The new brand, filed in Nice class 39 by Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG, indicates that the Tailwind name will be used in connection with cargo ship transportation, delivery of goods and freight forwarding, among others.

German media sources have previously reported that Schwartz aims to put its own ships into service by the middle of the year, to tackle supply chain problems and high container shipping costs. Indeed, Wolf Tiedemann, who heads logistics at the German retailer, has been quoted as saying the goal is “to manage the increased volume of different production facilities more flexibly in the long term”. He told Lebensmittel Zeitung that the company will continue to work with its usual shipping partners, but wants to be more independent.

“Global supply chain constraints are forcing retailers to go to extraordinary lengths to secure their operations,” commented James Newman, Director of EMEA for automation and AI solutions providers GreyOrange. “Lidl has taken this a step further than most, however, and have created their own shipping operation.

“Lidl’s shipping strategy is an attempt at managing the production variance of different production facilities, but given the current state of global supply chain, more precise data analysis on production capacity and inventory localisation is also necessary to maximise efficiency and agility.

“The supply chain is evolving away from a linear shape and into an interconnected web as a result of increasing consumer demands,” continued Newman. “By using a smart AI platform, retailers can identify, manage, and even predict the most effective use of resources – including where to physically place inventory and allocating capital to match supply to demand. Lidl’s new shipping operation is an intuitive step in the right direction, but retailers need insights across the whole of their supply chain, and especially anywhere fulfilment takes place in their network, to remain competitive and to absorb any further disruptions.”

Lidl has been expanding strongly throughout Europe for more than 40 years. It currently operates around 11,550 stores and more than 200 goods distribution and logistics centres in 31 countries.

In the UK, Lidl recently announced it will be creating more than 1,200 new warehouse jobs by the end of 2025 as it begins recruitment for its new Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Luton. The RDC expansion forms part of the discounter’s £1.3 billion investment in the UK last year and this year and will support Lidl’s commitment to opening 1,100 stores across the country by the end of 2025. The new jobs are in addition to the 4,000 store roles that the discounter will create throughout 2022 and 2023.

Lidl appears to be making waves in the UK market. In March it overtook Co-op to become the sixth-largest supermarket in the UK for the first time.

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