Minister points to logistics for better export returns

September 23, 2008, Tuesday/ 19:37:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
The cost of logistics must be held in check in order to retain an advantageous position in competition in exports, Foreign Trade Minister Kürşad Tüzmen has said.
Logistics account for around 20 percent of the total cost of an exported item, the minister explained. Tüzmen said that decreasing the cost of logistics in an environment where Turkish exporters are seeing very low profit margins is a sine qua non for competitive strategy.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency yesterday, the minister voiced opinions on the Turkish transportation and logistics businesses involved in foreign trade. Thirty-six percent of total trade volume is transported over land. The share of road transportation is even higher when it comes to exports. Turkish industrialists truck 43 percent of their goods via land. This is because land transportation is more advantageous in terms of flexibility and speed but is far costlier than sea or rail transport, the minister underlined.

Other problems road transportation has faced for years are soaring gasoline prices, high fees at border crossings and a long and thorny process of acquiring visas for truck drivers from foreign countries, Tüzmen said.

Bulgaria, Syria and Iran, all of which are major trade routes for Turkish exporters, recently began to apply extra passage fees under several names while Ro-Ro vessels to European markets increased transportation fees for Turkish exports. These hikes will add $150 million annually to costs encountered by exporters, the minister noted.

All possible measures are being taken to remove such “obstacles” facing trucks bearing Turkish plates with concentrated action under the coordination of the Ministry of Transportation, Tüzmen said. He added that Turkey will not hesitate to exercise its rights granted by international agreements to avert these problems. The minister also said that there will be an international conference on a range of issues pertaining to foreign trade logistics. The conference will be held in Mersin on Oct. 14-15. In addition to the conference, the Logistics and Transportation Fair will also be held, he said. These events will create a platform to promote the significance of Turkey’s strategic position in terms of logistics, Tüzmen said and added, “Turkey is a country that can make money even without investing any efforts thanks to its strategic location.”

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