Turkish exporters cannot find empty shipping containers as imports drop

Turkish exporters are struggling to find empty shipping containers to transport their products to foreign customers after imports fell, Dünya newspaper reported on Thursday.

A decline in demand for imports caused by a slump in the value of the lira means fewer containers are arriving in the country, Dünya said. The problem has increased over the past month, exporters said, according to the newspaper.

Companies are now being forced to store goods in warehouses as they wait for the chance to ship products, increasing their costs. The price of empty shipping containers has also tripled in dollar terms, the exporters said, Dünya reported.

“Recently, imports have decreased due to exchange rates. Our exports started to increase. For this reason, we have difficulties in finding containers. Supply does not meet demand,” one exporter said.

“Our warehouses are about to fill up. If we cannot solve this problem by the new year, we could lose customers. If we want to increase our exports as a country, we urgently need to improve our logistics infrastructure,” the person said, according to Dünya.

Turkey’s government is looking to manufacturers and exporters to help minimise the impact of the COVID-19 virus on economic activity. Meanwhile, investors in Turkey are also looking for signs that recent losses for the lira will dampen demand for imports, which have out-stripped exports and widened the country’s current account deficit.

“The primary issue is finding empty containers,” said Burak Önder, head of the Home and Kitchenware Manufacturers and Exporters Association (EVSID), according to Dünya.

“Secondly, there is a reservation problem. Freight ships are full, and there’s no empty space to be found for many destinations. Thirdly, there is an increase in freight prices. Although we ourselves do not usually feel this, our customers complain about the increase in freight prices,” he said.