Fastest Growing Containerline Fleet is Lidl's Tailwind

A Lidl supermarket
Updated Published

In the realm of global shipping, the fastest expanding fleet in terms of percentage belongs to a company more commonly linked with budget-friendly products found in European retail outlets.

Despite a shift away from leasing ships among various retail conglomerates post-COVID pandemic, Tailwind Shipping Lines, under the umbrella of Lidl's German parent company, has aggressively expanded its operations. According to Linerlytica, an Asia-based maritime analytics firm, Tailwind has seen an astonishing 43% growth since July. This expansion is largely a strategic move to counteract the delays in shipping goods from Asia through southern Africa, a consequence of the Houthi insurgencies in the Red Sea.

Presently, Linerlytica ranks Tailwind, established merely two years ago, as the world's 38th largest shipping line, boasting a fleet of 15 vessels and a capacity exceeding 40,000 container slots, with two ships owned outright and an additional two on order.

The company has recently secured a three-year lease for its largest vessel to date, the 6,881 TEU Kea, at a daily rate of $39,000, revealing a significant 15% price hike from the leasing of a similar capacity ship around a month prior. The Kea is under the ownership of International Maritime Enterprises, a company managed by the Embiricos family in Monaco.

Tailwind's recent acquisitions include a variety of ships, such as the 917 TEU Faith, the 1,118 TEU Wilhelmina, the 1,134 TEU Asiatic Neptune, the 2,207 TEU Kumasi, and the 1,042 TEU Chattanooga.

Hua Joo Tan, Linerlytica's co-founder, explained to Splash that the current Asia-Europe shipping rates, ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 per FEU, make niche services like those provided by Tailwind viable once more.

The maritime sector has observed a surge in both spot and charter rates following the Red Sea hostilities initiated by the Houthis, linked to the prolonged conflict between Israel and Hamas. Although there's been a slight decrease in spot rates recently, the charter market remains vibrant.

Reports from Alphaliner highlight that the bustling charter market is largely influenced by the ongoing Red Sea tensions and the surge in cargo volumes on key routes. Similarly, shipping broker Braemar acknowledges a continuous "robust trend" in the market, spanning all ship sizes and regions.

During the peak of the global supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, renowned retailers such as Ikea, Walmart, and Home Depot took the unprecedented step of chartering their own vessels, a strategy now being pursued by Tailwind.