While fuel accounts for 25.1% of the transportation cost in Europe, this rate is unfortunately around 48.2% in Turkey. According to the 2023 third quarter data of TIRPORT, the largest Digital Forwarder in Turkey and the region, almost half of the road transportation costs in Turkey goes to fuel. Compared to Europe, it is twice as high.
There are around 550 thousand trucks of 16 tons and above on the roads in Turkey. Only around 130 thousand of these are self-owned vehicles owned by logistics or freight companies (cement factories, flour mills, oil companies, etc.). The remaining 420,000 trucks/tractor-trailers are owned directly by individuals. Because trucking is one of the most important livelihoods in Turkey. Do not confuse truck ownership in Turkey with taxi license plate ownership. More than 90% of truck owners are also active drivers of the truck.
The main reason why the cost of fuel oil is close to 50% of freight in Turkey despite all the increasing costs is that truck owners make sacrifices to survive, to pay the installments of their trucks and to bring bread to their homes.
The truck owner is trying to sacrifice the maintenance of the truck, the insurance, his personal wages. For example, in the last year, the tendency to use retreaded tires has increased by over 20% in Turkey. This situation is absolutely unsustainable. It is also very damaging to driving safety.
Contract logistics is no different. In a market where 50% of freight is diesel costs, it is technically impossible for those who do not focus on their fleet and driver performance, who cannot access live loading and delivery reporting and calculate alternative costs, who cannot verify waiting and idle times at loading-unloading points, to make an operational profit in contract logistics.
According to TIRPORT Insights 2023 third quarter data, a truck travels an average of 460 km with a long-haul load and burns around 32 liters of diesel fuel.
It consumes 192 liters of fuel for 600 km. One-way fuel cost is 7,500 TL. The round-trip fuel cost alone is 15 thousand TL. In European norms, the same distance freight should be 30 thousand TL. In Turkey, this figure is less than 50%. For 15 thousand TL, if the truck carrying the load returns empty without a return load, it incurs a loss. According to IRU data, while the rate of empty returns in Europe is around 23%, this rate is around 32% in Turkey.
According to IRU (International Road Transport Union) data, while fuel prices, which peaked in Europe in October 2022, fell by up to 25% in 2023, they continued to increase in Turkey due to both exchange rate and SCT regulations. This situation puts the transportation sector in even more difficulties.
While a truck driver in Europe can earn around 2,200-2,500 EUR on average, a Turkish truck driver cannot even earn 800 EUR. Truck owners are even more troubled: fleets are aging (average age of trucks in Turkey is 17.2 years), productivity is decreasing. The state suppresses it with taxes and regulations, and the burden of return turns into a bigger crisis. Because the truck that cannot take the return load is a direct loss.
Wherever you look, the sector is crying, it is dying, and the risk to driving and cargo safety on the roads is increasing.