British supermarket chain becomes latest retail name to charter in tonnage

One of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has become the latest retailer to go public on its shipping activities.

Asda joins a throng of big name retailers in chartering ships to deliver containers during 2021, a year that has thrown up more challenges to logisticians than any other this century.

The British supermarket chain revealed yesterday that a ship it has chartered is on its way from China carrying 350 containers of Christmas-related goods. The ship will enter UK waters in the coming week.

“This is the first time Asda has chartered its own ship and we have done so to navigate the industry-wide supply chain challenges and to make sure there is enough stock on the shelves for customers this Christmas,” a spokesman told the BBC.

Another giant of the UK high street, John Lewis, decided to charter in tonnage earlier this year as have a host of American retailers including Asda’s ex-owners, Walmart.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Is this a non-story?
    ASDA say they have chartered a ship carrying 350 containers but neither this article or any of the others I have read today has mentioned a vessel name. Maybe they have simply slot-chartered from Allseas?
    Has ASDA explained where they intend to berth and discharge their ‘vessel’ or what they are paying per day for charter hire? Which of the UK’s congested ports will be giving the priority to handle the containers while other regular customers are turning away or being turned away from their terminals where they have service and priority contracts?
    What are ASDA planning to do with their 350 containers when they are empty – re-po to China or sell them?

    Meanwhile, Sharon White, CEO of John Lewis, admitted that they had NOT chartered any container ships (in spite of the statement in this article above) – it was all a publicity stunt to garner support from their customers and to get press coverage. At least they were successful with the second objective.

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