Turkey’s exports, which surpassed the contractions experienced after the pandemic, started to rise. However, this time, the increased burden was stuck on the density at the border gates and the transition procedures.
Turkey’s increasing exports created a new crisis in transportation. Goods were piled up at border gates and customs, both on land and sea. Hundreds of trucks are waiting at the border because the transit documents are exhausted on the road, while on the sea, they have trouble finding empty containers and ships. Due to all these problems, the increase in freight increased up to 30 percent on some lines.
Hungarian barrier to exit to Europe
One of the biggest problems in export shipments is the issue of transit documents. The transit document problem, which has been the bleeding wound of the shipper for years, created great chaos in this period when exports increased. Hundreds of trucks are waiting at the border gates with the goods in them, as the transit documents to some countries, especially Hungary, have been exhausted.
According to the information conveyed by the sector officials, the Hungarian transition documents have been completely exhausted. It is a transit country for our most important export markets such as Hungary and Germany. For this reason, the exhaustion of transit documents for this country poses a great threat to billions of dollars of export burden. For Hungary, 100,000 transit pass documents are needed annually. However, only 36 thousand passes are issued. Documentation sold out early this year. This year, however, Hungary is not sending any new documents. Therefore, hundreds of trucks are waiting at the gate to go to Europe. An average of 60 thousand dollars worth of goods are transported with a TIR. This figure reveals how much of a loss waiting for trucks is for the Turkish economy. On the other hand, bilateral transit documents to Hungary, which are 3 thousand per year, have also been exhausted.
Alternative route extends time by 4 days
Some transporters prefer the Romania-Moldova-Ukraine-Poland route to bypass Hungary and go to Germany by road. However, this route means both time and cost loss. According to the information given by the transporters, going to Germany via this route increases the time by 4 days and the cost by approximately 600 dollars.
Greek documents are also finished
On the other hand, Greece is another country that has a transit document problem. Bilateral transit documents with Greece are also completely exhausted. For transit transports in Austria, Czechia and Slovenia, only 10 thousand pass certificates are issued against 20 thousand annual needs. For this reason, the ministry divides these documents into months. According to the transporters, who say that sometimes they are not given documents for two months, the transportation to this country is delayed in the months when the transit document is not given, hundreds of trucks are waiting at the door.
The capacity problem is growing at the doors
Trucks carrying export goods do not wait at the gates only because of the pass document. Although the crisis created by the Virtual Reservation Queue System (RSS) in Kapıkule, which has created a big agenda in the past weeks, has been resolved, the capacity problem at the border gates is increasing. It is expected that the gates, where a maximum of 1,200 trucks pass daily, will be urgently increased to 2 thousand in parallel with the increase in Turkey’s export load.
There are big problems in logistics not only on the road but also on the seaway. According to the officials of the Association of International Forwarding and Logistics Service Providers (UTIKAD), since there is a backlog in European transit ships in maritime transport, transshipment loads are not taken. For example, the German container company Hamburg Süd does not take South American cargo on some of its ships for this reason. He is closing the ship by only taking the cargoes going to Europe. UTIKAD officials, expressing that there are similar equipment and space problems all over the world, say that such problems are less common in countries with large economies because the outgoing ships are larger.
UTIKAD officials gave the following information on the subject: “The lines are constantly trying to pull empty equipment from Piraeus and Egypt, but they cannot arrive in sufficient numbers. Special equipment in particular has become even more problematic.”
“We are fighting for a container”
Rif Line Logistics Turkey General Manager Mehmet Serkan Erdem stated that the problem of finding empty containers and ships, which came to the fore after the pandemic, has grown with the increase in exports, and said, “We are now in a mess on the sea side. We are fighting to find a container. Not only do we find it difficult to find containers, there is no room on the ships either. When we ask the reason, it is said that there is a very serious problem at the transfer ports. Because they cancel flights under the name of ‘blank sailing’. The goods we load from Istanbul to the Chittagong port of Bangladesh will only arrive in 75 days. It is stated that the delay is due to excessive congestion in Colombo Port. Therefore, the problem in logistics is not only caused by the increase in Turkey’s exports. The balance of the world is upset,” he said.
Supply problem threw freight at sea
According to the information given by the sector representatives, there has been a 30 percent increase in freight since September, depending on the region. While the freight to the Middle East increases by close to 300 dollars, this figure rises to 400 dollars in the Far East shipments.
Emphasizing that they are not only experiencing the problem of finding containers anymore, they also experience very serious increases in freight, Erdem gave the following examples: “Freight on the Gemlik-Jabel Ali (Dubai) line, where we carry out regular shipments, has increased from 950 dollars to 1,250 dollars since September. However, there is such a big problem in supply that our customer is willing to give this figure as well. The freight on the same line was $500600 before. For example, we send white goods from Eskişehir to Singapore. While loading $410 from Istanbul to Singapore in September, this figure increased to $525 in November.”
It is predicted that with the increase of measures against the epidemic in Europe, the outflow of goods from Turkey may decrease and this situation will balance the freight in the coming months. However, it is feared that container operators may reduce the number of voyages as the business declines, in which case the problems will continue.
The ready-made industrialist is waiting for the vehicles to return
Mustafa Gültepe, President of Istanbul Ready-made Clothing and Apparel Exporters’ Association (İHKİB), said that logistics costs have increased. Fatih Taş, the export manager of Kanca, one of the leading companies in the automotive sub-industry, also stated that there are problems related to logistics in the rising sector’s exports. Explaining that there was a delay in car reservations, Taş said, “The queues continue at the gates. They cannot unload their vehicles and are late in sending vehicles to us. Even the reservations we made the previous week are delayed.” Taş said that there was a significant increase in freight as well.
Aysel YÜCEL – WORLD