02-09-2021 Ikea joins shippers’ rush to charter containerships and buy boxes, By Gary Dixon, TradeWinds
Swedish retail giant Ikea has followed US retailers in addressing shipping congestion by chartering its own containerships. The group has also bought its own boxes to ensure goods can keep moving on time, with capacity sorely lacking in a market experiencing soaring freight rates.
The move was spurred by delays to the 100 containers Ikea had on the 20,388-teu Ever Given (built 2018), which made global headlines when it grounded in the Suez Canal in March. Some of Ikea’s products are out of stock in stores worldwide, the company has said.
“Congestion in ports combined with historically high demand has created an imbalance in the entire world market for maritime transport,” Ikea’s product deliveries director Mikael Redin told Svenska Dagbladet. “On top of that must be added a general shortage of certain raw materials. All in all, this has unfortunately led to restrictions in our range today.”
Redin also told the Market newspaper that the purchase of containers and chartering of vessels has improved the situation. “But despite this, we must take further measures to mitigate the effects of the disruptions in our maritime transport,” he added. Redin would not be drawn on how long the supply chain problems would last.
In August, US retail behemoth Walmart revealed it had chartered space on boxships. And in June, another US giant, Home Depot, took matters into its own hands by chartering its own container vessel. “We have a ship that’s solely going to be ours and it’s just going to go back and forth … 100% dedicated to Home Depot,” chief operating officer Ted Decker said at the time.