Turkey, one of the most vibrant economies among emerging countries, sits at the heart of a major crossroads in global trade, bridging East and West, Europe and Asia.
Turkey’s strategic location provides access within a four-hour flight radius to multiple markets with a combined population of 1.6 billion people, a combined GDP of USD 27 trillion, and more than USD 8 trillion of foreign trade, which corresponds to around half of the total global trade. Trade in Turkey has been rising significantly, and the region as a whole has more of a presence in global trade. In 2015, Turkey was responsible for 1.05 percent of the global trade volume, and the country’s share in global trade is expected to exceed 1.5 percent by 2023.
The Turkish economy, which has been growing at an average annual growth rate of almost 4.7 percent over the last 13 years, provides many opportunities for the logistics sector. In addition to its robust economic growth, Turkey has one of the largest and youngest labor pools in Europe. More than 65 percent of Turkey’s population is aged between 24 and 54, and the strength of this labor force is reflected in the logistics industry. Investors can easily hire a talented workforce at a competitive cost to address the complex demands of the industry.
Public and private infrastructure investments in the last ten years have significantly improved the logistics services provided in Turkey. Many new airports have been built, and highways have spread across the country. In addition, the burgeoning high-speed train network has begun connecting major cities and the capacity of Turkish ports has been increased. Turkey is also building 20 logistics centers/villages, of which 7 have been completed, that will serve to lower the costs of transportation by offering various modes of transportation within these centers/villages.
The Turkish government has set challenging targets to be achieved by 2023 in an effort to further improve the logistics infrastructure. These targets include, but are not limited to:
- Having a total road network of 70,000 km, with 8,000 km of it being undivided highway and 36,500 km of it being divided highway
- Having a total railway network of 25,000 km, of which 12,000 km will be high-speed railway
- Increasing annual passenger transportation to 1 billion persons and freight transportation to 125 million tons
- Increasing the total number of passenger airplanes from 487 to 750
- Constructing new airports in a move to increase total annual capacity to 400 million passengers
- Increasing container handling capacity from 8.4 million TEU to 32 million TEU
- Increasing vessel fleet carrying capacity from 29.2 million DWT to 50 million DWT
- Building one port in each of the three seas surrounding Turkey
Turkey’s advantageous geographical location, which provides easy access to Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, allows the country to function as a hub for the freight carried in the region. The current size of Turkey’s logistics industry is such that it accounts for 12-13 percent of the country’s GDP. Immense growth is expected according to 2023 GDP targets, with the industry estimated to reach a volume of USD 200-240 billion by 2023.