Target goes down the vessel chartering path taken by Walmart, Home Depot and Costco

Target, the eighth largest retailer in the US, is the latest shipper to charter in its own tonnage in the ongoing battle to keep its shelves stocked amid this year’s desperate supply chain situation.

“As co-managers of the ship, we can avoid delays from additional stops and steer clear of particularly backed-up ports,” Target said, without revealing who it is working with and the size of the vessel.

Big retail brands including Walmart, Costco, Home Depot and Ikea have gone down a similar vessel chartering path in recent months as port congestion has worsened and liner schedule reliability has sunk to record lows where less than one in three boxships are arriving on time.

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. We keep reading these stories of retailers ”chartering their own ships” and renting their own containers but, with the exception of a couple of companies like Walmart and Schneider, who were importing their own 53′ containers for domestic use, where are all the ”container ships” and all the ”leased containers” coming from, when we are constantly being told that all vessel charter prices are going through the roof and containers cannot be found??
    Earlier this week John Lewis in the UK admitted that it had not, after all news reports and BBC coverage announcing this, chartered ships and rented containers.
    If these news reports of various retailers starting their own mini shipping lines, how are they intending to operate the logistics of a container fleet and to return the containers to their owners or to re-cycle them back to China?
    It’s all very well to publish attention-grabbing headlines but there has been precious little detail on the logistics and business economics of these so-called announcements.
    Come on journalists and Target, Home Depot, IKEA, Costco – explain which vessels are being used and how the container fleet logistics will be managed. Could it be that these announcements are made out of frustration and that the deeper complications have not yet been figured out?

  2. It keeps getting reported that the retailers r chartering ships but what r the names of the ships.
    Nothing in the market reports.
    Whats up ?

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