One of New Silk Road Network's (NSRN) founding members, Agemar Global Logistics has been on a steady growth incline since their foundation in the year 2002. In our latest interview with Mrs Deniz Aydincan, the Managing Director of Agemar, we learnt about the advantages of their strategic location in Istanbul, the challenges during coronavirus and finally their future goals.
A promising development planned for the coming years, Agemar sees rail freight as a game-changer in the logistics sector. To learn more about these developments, we had a conversation with Mrs Aydincan.
NSRN: Agemar has a robust operation in Turkey, even though it was founded in the early 2000s. It seems to us that the history of the company is filled with many achievements taking place in a short period. Would like to tell us more about the origins of the company and the course so far?
Deniz: I founded Agemar in 2002 with the mission of providing complete global logistics services and exceeding our customers' expectations through delivering quality and excellence in all aspects of our business. Our business has been developed mostly with mainland China because of Turkey' s import and export volumes. We were exporting block marble to China, and importing semi-finished products, raw materials and the other consumer goods from there. Our volume was 550-600 TEUs of export and 200 of TEUs import weekly. However, in the year 2016, we lost the marble business and our volumes slightly decreased. Soon after, we turned our focus to project cargo and became a certified shipping agent in all Turkish ports.
We are members of several different networks including project and shipping etc. We have been receiving and sending two – three project shipments (out of gauge and oversized) to/from Turkey almost every week.
NSRN: Apart from your involvement with project cargo, you also operate your own warehouses. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your local operations? How would you say you are positioned in the local market? And what are the development plans for the company in the next few years?
Deniz: Our focus is mostly on project/heavy-lift shipments to/from Turkey. In terms of warehouse management, we have the capabilities of handling and storing goods in our warehouse before transportation. This offers additional benefits to the clients by saving them storage costs, time and extra packaging etc. We control two warehouses (bonded and non-bonded) in Istanbul, on both the Asian and European Side. Another bonus point is our close proximity to industrial areas and ports. Our plan for coming years is to become a complete logistics solution provider (3PL), and railway station controller in Turkey.
Turkey and the Belt and Road Initiative
NSRN: Turkey has many thriving ports and historically has been the gateway between the East and West. So, it is understandable that your expertise in ocean freight is substantial. How has the geographical location impacted your market as a forwarder, and how important do you think Turkey is to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?
Deniz: There are several well-equipped ports in Turkey which give us the opportunity of being the gateway between Asia, the Middle East and Europe, allowing us to connect continents. Historically, Istanbul has been central to the ancient Silk Route by linking Asia and Europe. Mersin is another significant gateway between the Middle East and CIS countries, as it has an excellent rail connection. Advantages such as these allow us to be a major player in the logistics sector by enabling us to create business across the continents. The recent development of the tunnel system under the Bosporus river connects the two continents (Asia and Europe) by a rail, adding another route to the BRI.
NSRN: Are there any challenges that you face while conducting business along the BRI? At the moment, Turkey is well connected per road, air and sea, and since the end of last year, per rail as well with the connections via the middle corridor towards China. However, rail connections have been seen by many as unreliable and immature. How do you see this? Is it a realistic or outdated view? What do you think still needs to be improved?
Deniz: The main challenges in this beautiful geographical location are monopolism, authoritarian state structure and bureaucratic difficulties. These are significant roadblocks to grow businesses. At the same time, the robust railway connection in this corridor reduces time as compared to the seaway. Our view is that the railway is more reliable and feasible. Rail can transport unique products that are central to many industries, in a shorter time and at lower costs. A reduction of transit time unburdens factories by reducing the use of stock and storage.
Governments need to support the importance and ease of using the railway systems by building new structures of railway management with updated tariffs and flexible rules. Governmental support is always essential across countries. Otherwise, the sea freight will remain uncontestable.
NSRN: The coronavirus has been causing lots of problems across the world. Was there any impact on your business? If so, how did you deal with it, and what did you learn from that experience?
Deniz: Yes, many adverse effects impacted us too. We closed our offices from March 17th till July 1st. In this period, we arranged everything from home via the internet and worked accordingly. Due to the general situation, there was some decline and delay in our work, but nothing unbeatable. Since we mostly focused on air freight, we maintained regular contact with our existing customers, and we did not lose them. Interestingly, we learnt that some departments could efficiently work from home, giving us ideas to reduce costs. For the next step, we will redesign our organization with this experience.
Finally, we are also in the process of establishing a new company that will focus exclusively on rail operations. Of course, this will take some time, but we are quite excited and determined to take our company to the next level.
Click to view their homepage for more information: http://agl-agemar.com/en/