BORUSAN LOJİSTİK GENERAL MANAGER OF SALES AND MARKETING İBRAHİM DÖLEN Q&A WITH UTA LOGISTICS MAGAZINE
1. Could you tell us a bit about Borusan Lojistik and what it does?
Borusan Lojistik operates in areas such as customs clearance, transportation, port management, warehousing, foreign forwarding and exhibition logistics. Our company, which we completed restructuring in the beginning of 2000, provides services under three main areas; port services, customs clearance services and third party logistics services, which we call 3PL.
We provide services to our customers both in Turkey and abroad from the raw material to the consumption of the product, meeting needs such as quality control, national and international transportation, agency, port services, cantilever and general warehouse services, container services, package opening, stock management, consolidation, assembly, repackaging, final quality control, customs clearance, insurance, supervision services, on time delivery and the return cycles of these services. Our organization has the infrastructure to ensure that all these services can be provided without error and at superior quality standards.
We built a second pier in 2000, next to our existing Gemlik port facilities. By doing this we turned the cantilever area into a semi-open, semi-closed space. With our new port complex, we have increased the load capacity of our Gemlik facility from 800,000 metric tons to 1,650,000 metric tons of conventional cargo and to 45,000 containers. With an investment of $18 million, we added second and third docks to our port and extended our equipment pool. In addition, we completed the construction of two new storehouses 4,000 m2 and 5,000 m2 in size. Our other important investment is our logistics center consisting of warehouses and storehouses covering an area of 7,730m2 in Gebze.
Of course, our investments are not limited solely to those I’ve listed above. We are aware that e-logistics and technological investments play just as important a role as the advancement of information technology does in the development of the sector. We have allocated a large portion of our investments so far to creating the technological infrastructure required to provide an “end-to-end” solution for our customers and standardized all operations with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system attached to the SAP R3 backbone that we have built.
Meanwhile, thanks to the modules that are on our website, organizations receiving services from Borusan Lojistik can follow their exports/imports and can monitor customer and vendor accounts. With the inquiry module, customers can create their own questions and send them to Borusan Lojistik. This means that while our customers benefit from all the privileges we offer, we can also measure customer satisfaction on our website in a seamless manner. We can also maintain our relationships with the private customer communication area set up on our website. Through our e-business applications, our customers can track all their logistics needs from start to finish. Our customers can also view Gemlik Pier on the internet 24/7 from 12 live cams . This means that they are able to see and supervise the work at the port simultaneously.
When you look at all of the applications and activities that I’ve listed, we have made Borusan Lojistik an exemplary institution in the sector, giving its services based on transparency, trust, listening to the customers’ voice and evaluating their feedback.
2. How do you evaluate Iraq as a market for the logistics sector now that it is being rebuilt? Can you evaluate the current situation and possible future situation of the Iraqi market?
Both the country’s infrastructure and superstructure need rebuilding. As the public here are following, during this construction period conferences on rebuilding Iraq are being held and many leading companies from various countries are participating in these conferences and putting forward their ideas. In addition, tenders are being opened, and companies are given the right to participate in these once they have completed a very grueling process. The ties are now being opened under U.S. control, and the finalization is entirely based on U.S. decisions. Turkey is also participating in these conferences in order to have a say in this market.
However, Turkey is more advantageous than other countries because it is a bordering neighbor with a strategical position and a similar terrain and it is also a country that many others are looking to cooperate with. In Turkey, a wide variety of sectors, especially the construction sector, can benefit from this advantage. One of these is the logistics sector. Logistics firms will transport all the materials needed during infrastructure work. In addition all materials from white goods to automotives, furniture to food will be imported, and the transportation will be carried out by logistics companies. Therefore, there is a very serious work potential here.
As I specified, Iraq is a market that should be followed very closely on a daily basis in terms of logistics. Within a new market, freight rates vary daily as a result of changing parameters. The Habur border crossing is the only access we have from the north. This is a very sensitive point because from time to time, Habur could close, even temporarily. Since we give our customers a new “estimated date of arrival” every day, any problem that may arise on this matter can turn the entire scheduling program upside down. The matter of security is another important parameter. The services that we provide to our customers require 100% guarantee. We need to ensure the safety of both the drivers and the loads we transport. Therefore, one should be cautious when approaching the Iraqi market, at least for now.
Of course, rebuilding Iraq is not something that will happen in a short period of time. It will take years. The countries that want to have a say in this market in the future are already investing there. Although it is not confirmed by some sources, it is certain that Turkey is the best trading partner for Iraq and will continue to be so in the future. Turkey has a great advantage because the other two corridors in the region have many disadvantages. For instance, the Jordan-Baghdad corridor has a heavy amount of import traffic. The total cost is high as there is no production in the region. Another corridor, Umm-Kasr-Baghdad, just like the Jordan-Baghdad corridor, is heavily used for imports, while Umm-Kasr was damaged extensively during the war. In addition, there is a time disadvantage for imports made from Europe. This being the case, the Mersin (İskenderun) - Habur - Baghdad corridor stands out as the most advantageous. If this advantage is used correctly, it can bring Turkey many benefits in the long-term.
3. Borusan Lojistik has been providing logistics support for the allied troops in Iraq since May. How did Borusan Lojistik decide to work in Iraq? How did the project develop? Was Iraq a market in which Borusan had worked before?
Borusan Lojistik is working in cooperation with Danish Camp Supply (DCS) in Iraq. DCS is an organization that carried out projects to meet all peacekeeping forces’ needs in every corner of the world where they are stationed, including the Balkans and Afghanistan. The Danish troops included in the peacekeeping force are securing Camp Eden - AlQuarna, close to Basra (Southern Iraq). There are around 300-400 soldiers here. DCS has two alternatives for meeting the soldiers’ needs: the Umm-Kasr or Adana-Mersin corridors. We met for discussions and came to the conclusion that they would be able to obtain more secure and time-controlled logistics services by going via Turkey under Borusan Lojistik. We have been working together ever since then. So far we have shipped 200 prefabricated containers to AlQuarna from the Slobenski Brod production center in the Balkans. Thanks to this cooperation which is of great importance for our country, around 100 metric tons of spring water and 10-20 metric tons of fresh fruit and vegetables...