Airfreight faces competition from One Belt One Road

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The Turkish airfreight market has great potential to grow but will face strong competition from China’s One Belt One Road railfreight project, UTIKAD president, Turgut Erkeskin says.

Speaking at the Pegasus Cargo International Transport and Logistics Conference at Istanbul University’s Transportation and Logistics Faculty on 24 March, Erkeskin told attendees that connecting China and Europe by rail posed strong competition to airfreight. As part of One Belt One Road, the Chinese government plans to connect China and Europe via rail through Turkey, similar to the historic Silk Road.

Erkeskin says: “One Belt One Road will be a competitor to airfreight. Products have to be brought to the airport at least a day or two from takeoff, plane goes to destination then it is handled again. It takes six or seven days so if the train can cover the same distance in nine days it is important competition.”

He says the East is the factory of the world, and the consumers are in the West, with Turkey in the middle. Erkeskin says Turkey’s advantages include a large population and land area, as well as close proximity to Europe.

He says: “Once new corridors open there will be new opportunities. Turkey has become a logistics hub so once we can start, these corridors will be a transit area between Europe and Africa.”

The One Belt One Road may be a potential competitor to airfreight, but the Turkish section is the missing link. Erkeskin comments: “The Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia link is not functioning, it is the only missing link. Turkey is not complete, do we not want rail roads in our country? Is it not as good as it looks on maps?”