Turkish Truckers in Difficult Situation! Europe vs Turkey

In Turkey, bread is no longer in the lion’s mouth, but in the lion’s throat!

I think Turkey has the highest number of individual truck owners in the world. Of the 550,000 trucks/TIRs of 16 tons and above carrying commercial transport on the roads, approximately 470,000 are directly owned by individuals. Moreover, these truck owners are not like commercial taxi license plate holders, a large number of them also work as drivers for the truck they own.

In the table below, I have shared with you the cost analysis of Europe-Turkey Freight rates. We had the opportunity to go through all the data while preparing the “TIRPORT’la 2022 Outlook” report.

Road Transportation Freight Cost Analysis

The situation is very dramatic.

When you look at the 2022 values of the cost items, you can clearly see that the vehicle owner driver/logistics company etc. seems to have tried to cut down on maintenance costs, tires, equipment, personal needs of the drivers. They cannot manage rising costs.

In 2022, around 37 thousand tow trucks were sold in Turkey. Nearly 250 thousand trucks/trailers changed hands in the second hand, more than 8 times more than that. This rate is a world record. 2. The average age is around 11 years old. Today, an 8-10 year old truck sells for between 2.5-4 million TL, while the price of a semi-trailer with a sliding curtain is 1 million TL. Even if you buy a second-hand tow truck, the lowest cost to you is 4-4.5 million TL. If you do business to invoice 110 thousand TL every month, you cannot make a turnover of 4 million TL in 3 years.

In Europe, fuel costs have risen from 21% to 25%. In our country, this cost is around 40%, and there have been times in the past when it exceeded 50%.

Driver costs are increasing, but drivers’ income is not increasing at the same rate, and their purchasing power continues to fall. According to the TIRPORT 2022 Report, a driver in Europe has an average net income of EUR 2-3 thousand. The gross employer cost is around EUR 6,000. In Turkey, the salary of a truck driver is around 15-20 thousand TL. That’s about 1.000 EUR.

In 2023, in order for a truck to make money, it needs to carry at least 11,000 km of freight per month. 2 years ago it was around 8,500 km. The gap is increasing.

There are 1.2 million SRC-certified truck drivers in Turkey. The number of truckers qualified to transport cargo to Europe is not 80 thousand. Europe has a shortage of 600 thousand truckers.

We are losing doctors, they are going to Europe in droves. Qualified truckers will also leave without looking back…

Prohibition/restriction is not a measure. We need to improve the quality of life, make the profession attractive, and support logistics companies with increasing self-owned investments. Otherwise the situation is really not getting better!