Shipping veteran Peter Gronwoldt has been appointed to help run the shipping desk established by German supermarket chain Lidl.

Gronwoldt is joining as divisional head of international logistics at Lidl’s fledgling shipping operation Tailwind Shipping Lines, which will be based in Hamburg, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He will be joining the company barely six months after departing Bremen-based shipping company Harren & Partner.

Gronwoldt worked in senior positions over two decades at Harren & Partner including as co-managing director.

News of the appointment comes after it emerged that Tailwind has already acquired a fleet of container ships for its new operation.

The company has moved into shipowning with the purchase of the 5,527-teu Talassa (built 2005) from compatriot German owner Peter Dohle Schiffahrts.

It has also committed to taking three wide-beam container ships on long-term charters of up to four years.

These include the 4,957-teu sisters Wiking (built 2016) and Jadrana (built 2014), as well as the 3,868-teu Merkur Ocean (built 2013) from the fleet of Bremen-based owner FA Vinnen.

Lidl Stiftung & Co KG, the company that runs the Lidl supermarket chain, confirmed this month that it would be forming its own shipping operation in order to beat supply chain problems.

The company, which is part of the privately-owned Schwarz Group, is expected to put its own ships into service by the middle of the year.

Taking in more

With just four ships, Lidl would not initially have enough capacity to operate a weekly service between Asia and Europe.

But the company has confirmed it will continue to use existing container shipping services alongside its own fledgling operation.

The company is one of several retailers seeking to take control of their own shipping operations to beat the supply charter market and high container charter costs.

Previously companies, including Ikea, Walmart, and Home Depot, have chartered container ships directly.

But Lidl appears to be going further than other liner operators by establishing its own shipping company.

TradeWinds has reported on a series of chartering and even newbuilding deals done directly between traditional liner shipping customers and shipowners or shipbuilders.

Most recently, Shenzhen-listed manufacturer Loctek ordered for its own use a 1,800-teu container ship for a reported $32.6m from Huanghai Shipbuilding