The first AsstrA representative office in the Middle East opened in Turkey in December 2016. The decision to open the office there was not made by chance. Geographically, Turkey connects Europe and Asia and creates opportunities for customers from both regions to work together.
The Istanbul team’s first steps in the Turkish market focused on road transport, the most popular delivery mode for AsstrA’s Turkish clients at the time. The office continues to fill many road transport orders, but over time its service portfolio has expanded to include a number of other specialized logistics solutions for bulk, groupage, and temperature-controlled cargo.
For AsstrA’s Turkish clients, seeds are one of the most important types of cargo. During the November-March sowing season, the office receives an increased number of orders to ship seeds by road. At this critical time of the year, clients, logistics providers, and transport partners must all work together efficiently in order to meet market demands. AsstrA’s local presence ensures prompt, direct communication with Turkish clients in case of changes to shipping plans.
Whereas the team originally organized seed transport primarily from Turkey to Russia via standard trucks, today the team is handling a wide variety of order types – including standard (21-24 tons), low-tonnage (2-5 tons) and groupage – for shipments to Europe, the CIS, and Asia.
For each order, up to 3 alternative routes are proposed in case there are unplanned circumstances involving, for example, force majeure situations, delays at border crossings, complications with a specific transport mode, or a lack of tripartite/transit permits. Alternative delivery schemes give clients a chance to weigh their options and choose the one that will best satisfy their specific requirements regarding rates, scheduling, or other factors.
The locally based team is also able to immediately learn of schedule deviations, maintain good supplier relationships, and ensure timeliness and discipline – all of which are particularly important during the planting season. Thanks to the team’s deep experience obtaining veterinary permits, the Istanbul office’s clients have peace of mind when it comes to the physical and regulatory safety of of future grain crops.
Refrigerated transportation also remains a priority for local Turkish clients. Unlike in other regions with different climates, in Turkey fruit and vegetable transportation is in constant, year-round demand. The AsstrA Istanbul team is constantly managing such cargo flows and has a unique, in-depth understanding of the fruit and vegetable market, i.e. which products are being grown in a given region of Turkey at a particular time of year and the best way to transport them. Both senders and recipients rely on the team to know the nuances and requirements for developing transport schemes – from loading to delivery – on particular routes and facilitate logistics processes accordingly.
Other popular Turkish exports include nuts and olive oil. According to internal corporate statistics covering recent years, in 2020 the number of orders for the transportation of nuts and groceries in increased by 45% compared to 2019. The number of deliveries of vegetables and fruits for the same period increased by 3.5 times.
Refrigerated transport is often necessary for dangerous goods in addition to food products. While the Istanbul office received few orders for ADR goods early on, today it offers clients a number of solutions such as:
- standard refrigerators for transporting paint, resin, and other hazardous chemicals,
- double deckers suitable for drugs and medical supplies, and
- multi-chamber refrigerators for the delivery of goods requiring different temperature conditons.
For small consignments of both dangerous and non-hazardous goods, the Istanbul Turkey team recommends groupage transportation with a clear, pre-set schedule of dispatches. Clients with small cargo volumes can thus plan logistics in advance and save money by paying only for capacity used as opposed to a full truck load. Such shipments are popular to Western Europe, Central Europe, and the Baltic countries. In addition, there are regular routes to the CIS countries, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq.
“Truck transportation, of course, remains the top choice for our Turkish clients. At the same time, the team in Istanbul has not stopped there. We are developing our service portfolio in line with market needs. Today, our clients see new solutions like air and sea transport as interesting, attractive alternatives to the truck deliveries they are already familiar with,” shares Elena Firsova, AsstrA Turkey Regional Country Manager and Istanbul Branch Manager.