As the world tries to recover from the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s lockdown have strengthened Turkey’s position as an alternative supply base, industry officials say.

These developments are reflected in export traffic at Turkey’s customs gates, where density is higher than ever due to record overseas sales figures.

The war between the country’s two Black Sea neighbors has negatively impacted shipping and is now shifting some of the truck routes to western border gates.

Noting the heavy export traffic, especially at the western gates, the head of strategy and business development for the International Association of Carriers, Fatih Şener, said that the Russian-Ukrainian war was negatively affecting trade through the gate. eastern, while at the western gates there was a high density of trade “thanks to the European Union’s demand for Turkey as an alternative to China”.

The volume of exports at customs gates in western Turkey has increased by almost 30% compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey ( TOBB).

For the northern trade routes, there is also an opportunity.

Ahmet Hamdi Gürdoğan, vice president of the Eastern Black Sea Exporters Union, said the crisis of the Russian-Ukrainian war has turned into an opportunity for the Black Sea.

Stating that Russian businessmen seek to use ports in the region, Gürdoğan said: “We have started working to restart Ro-Ros and passenger ships between the port of Trabzon-Sochi or the port of Adler, which was used until 2008.

He noted that this was an opportunity for the northern city of Trabzon on the country’s Black Sea coast.

Meanwhile, many exporters share similar thoughts on the peaceful reputation Turkey has gained during this time.

Highlighting the positive feedback they have received from around the world about Turkey playing a mediating role between Kyiv and Moscow and contributing to the smoothing of negotiations between the parties through dialogue, the exporters said: “ The peoples on both sides and the business community do not want war.

“They want their own business and life routines to continue. They can now achieve their goals thanks to Turkey, and Turkey’s calls (for peace) also give them hope.

Record exports

Regarding traffic at customs gates, Çetin Tecdelioğlu, Board Member of Istanbul Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metal Exporters Association and President of Hardware Manufacturers and Businessmen Association (HISIAD) , said this was due to the opportunity that Turkey seized.

“China’s shutdown again due to the pandemic is effective in this. These developments have created new opportunities for Turkey. Requests continue to flow to Turkey. We believe the intensity will continue to increase in the rest of the year,” he said.

Gökhan Turhan, president of the ARMATUR association, meanwhile said that trucks that do not want to use the war zone cross the Caucasus via Turkey.

“However, one of the main reasons for the density encountered at the border crossings is the increase in our export figures. Our exports were announced at $22.7 billion (TL 332.44 billion) last month. with an increase of 19.8% compared to March last year. This figure is the highest March export figure ever. By increasing capacity utilization, labor oriented to the The export of our industrials has caused more intensity than expected at our border gates. With the increase in the volume of foreign trade, the need for opening new border gates continues,” Turhan said.

European and Russian suppliers, who have begun to develop long-term supply structures in case the war turns into a Cold War, are now trying to either source goods from Turkey or produce them in Turkey.

Some Russian suppliers, who have recently reached an agreement with one of the main Turkish dried food companies, have reached an agreement that the new factory in the Aegean region will only produce for them.

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