Cem Akalın: Could you tell us about UPS’ activities in Türkiye and your global organization? What is the position and importance of Türkiye in the global UPS network?
Engin Kolat: UPS is a leading logistics company that offers comprehensive distribution solutions using advanced technologies for worldwide package and cargo transportation for facilitating international trade and more effective management of the business world. As UPS, we have the capacity to deliver more than 24.7 million packages every day with customer-oriented technological services and more than 540,000 employees, connecting people and businesses in more than 220 countries. This capacity allows us to serve customers in global markets in a fast, safe, and economical way.
We started our activities in Türkiye in 1988 with the aim of bringing export shipments to international markets, now we continue our operations with more than 2,000 employees and a wide organizational network. We support the development of exports in Türkiye with our international logistics and delivery activities and offer high-quality complementary individual logistics solutions to our customers with our presence in 81 cities.
We are the only logistics company in Türkiye that offers domestic and international cargo services at the same time and provides air, land, and sea freight solutions as well as warehousing services. We have offices and warehouses in major cities such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara.
Türkiye has a key position in our global organization. Türkiye serves as a bridge between Asia, the Middle East and Europe and is therefore one of the most important centers of regional trade. Since the first day, by expanding our network here and continuing our investments, we have been striving to provide the speed, confidence, and expertise that our customers need to focus on their business and exports.
Cem Akalın: Can you tell us about your current fleet structure? Will you have new orders to expand the fleet?
Engin Kolat: As UPS, we are continuing our investments to meet the increasing global cargo demand and fulfill our commitment to higher speed and export performance to our customers. As a result of our fleet expansion efforts, which are an important part of our customer focus strategy, we have ordered eight Boeing 767-300 Freighters last year and we will receive them gradually starting in 2025. When the deliveries are completed, the number of Boeing 767s in our fleet reaches 108 and the total number of aircraft 260. While increasing our efficiency, sustainability and reliability with these new aircraft, we will continue to meet the needs of our customers at the highest standards and have the most modern fleet in the industry.
Thanks to our expanding fleet, we connect our customers to global trade and global markets in a much stronger way. Thus, a package departing from Türkiye can cross continents and reach important trade centers of the world the next day. We are proud of bringing our country’s value-added products to global markets thanks to Türkiye’s production strength and solid infrastructure.
Cem Akalın: What can you say about Türkiye’s export performance and potential? What kind of solutions do you offer to meet the needs of exporters in Türkiye and what are the projects you have developed to increase exports?
Engin Kolat: Türkiye is one of the world’s leading exporters with diversified export arms. Despite the global economic difficulties caused by the pandemic, Türkiye’s export performance signed of resilience. During this period, Türkiye managed to diversify its export markets and increase its export volume in important markets such as the Middle East, North Africa, and the USA. Türkiye has the potential to further increase its export performance by leveraging of its strategic location, well-educated workforce, and reasonable production costs. As UPS, we act with the awareness that Türkiye is a valuable partner for global trade, and we focus on managing export processes and logistics needs.
We have a strong logistics network that can provide fast delivery. Thanks to our ever-expanding air fleet, we deliver the shipments of exporters in Türkiye to a total of 220 countries and regions through our Cologne Hub. On the other hand, with our road service, we forward shipments from Türkiye to Europe every week for our customers who prioritize cost rather than speed. Thanks to our air freight service, we have taken the strong connection built with the rest of the world one step further with the investments we have made in land operations. In addition to these, we also have services such as UPS Platinum, our special courier service that we have developed to meet urgent needs in international shipping, and UPS Smart, where our customers can manage their shipment processes in a much more technological and integrated way with network points. As UPS, we develop and shape the solutions we offer according to the needs of our customers.
We have implemented the Export Academy program with the Ministry of Commerce in order for SMEs and entrepreneurs to explore their export potential and to foresee the obstacles and solutions they may face in the e-export process. In addition, we have launched the UPS Women Exporter Program to support women to cross borders, overcome difficulties and create new futures by expanding their businesses to world markets. In both projects, together with our stakeholders, we provide trainings to the participants on topics such as accessing new markets, entrepreneurship, supply chain management trainings. We offer opportunities such as creating a supportive network for mentoring, learning and knowledge sharing, e-learning and workshops on best export practices, trade policies and new market opportunities as well.
Cem Akalın: What are the export solutions you offer for SMEs? What kind of studies do you carry out specifically for SMEs?
Engin Kolat: For SMEs, it is now essential to be able to open up to the world and engage in e-commerce. With the export solutions we offer for SMEs, we aim to facilitate their access to world markets and international trade. In this context, we share resources and information to help them and develop technological solutions to facilitate international logistics operations. SMEs demand a simpler, modern and faster process in e-export, and expect support in terms of knowledge and expertise while opening up to new markets. At UPS, we are working to create a safer, sustainable and faster ecosystem for them. If all stakeholders are engaged in this process, national shares of global e-exports will increase, representing enormous potential for economies.
In partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, we are expanding our Export Academy program to all corners of Türkiye, providing training to SMEs on account management in virtual markets, online payment methods, e-export shipment packaging, digital marketing, customs legislation solutions, while witnessing their successful export stories. UPS will continue to support SMEs and economies with the expertise, knowledge and data we generate.
Cem Akalın: Can you tell us about UPS’ growth plans for e-exports?
Engin Kolat: The share of e-commerce and e-exports in total global trade and exports is growing. We foresee sustainable growth for the Eurozone as e-export continues to be a key driver of progress for all economies in Europe. Businesses in Europe, including Türkiye, aim to move forward in international trade and e-export, and they need a reliable partner to do so. With 116 years of experience, UPS offers a world-class portfolio of services built on time management and tracking, while supporting our partners and enabling them to participate in global trade and reach new markets.
In addition, we offer different shipping options that allow a balance of speed and cost by analyzing the needs of businesses. We also enable consumers to choose alternative delivery locations thanks to our UPS Access Point network, which exceeds 30 thousand in Europe and 50 thousand worldwide. Technology strengthens the services we offer and the transactions we perform, and we carry out technology initiatives in line with the needs of our customers. In this way, we help our customers optimize their shipping and logistics business processes and reduce costs, improve service and increase efficiency. At this point, I would like to underline that we are in a global leader position as UPS.
Cem Akalın: Can you tell us about the work you have carried out in the region after the earthquake that hit 11 provinces in February? Do you have any ongoing projects?
Engin Kolat: Once again, we extend our sincere condolences to the families and relatives of those who lost their lives. Immediately after the earthquake, we participated in the “Earthquake Assistance Mobilization” initiated by the Ministry of Commerce and brought the humanitarian aid collected for the earthquake zone from Cologne Bonn Airport to Istanbul by air support. We carried the relief materials to the delivery points determined by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and AFAD. As part of the WLD – Women's Leadership Development initiative, we delivered the kits we prepared to meet the hygiene needs of women to the earthquake zones on behalf of all female employees of UPS Türkiye.
In the coming period, we aim to carry out projects within the scope of the Export Academy in order to revive exports in the earthquake region, increase their strength and support entrepreneurs in the region.
Cem Akalın: Like every industry, digitalization is transforming logistics. How is UPS using digitalization to improve its services and operations, and how does this benefit customers?
Engin Kolat: At UPS, we also define ourselves as a technology company. Digitalization has made our daily lives easier and is increasingly demanded by our customers. We continue to invest in technology to meet this demand and to pioneer digital transformation. In this context, we developed UPS Smart, our integrated logistics management portal. In this context, we developed UPS Smart, our integrated logistics management portal. Thanks to UPS Smart, we are moving many manual operations to the digital platform and reducing error rates. We offer our business partners not only a logistics operation application, but also an integration portal where they can see the entire operation from a single screen. We enable businesses to manage all end-to-end logistics services under a single roof and digitally.
Cem Akalın: What steps is UPS taking to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices in the logistics industry?
Engin Kolat: For UPS, sustainability is more than just a corporate plan. Last year, we set a solid roadmap for our sustainable goals and how to achieve them. We saw how climate change, air quality and other socioeconomic challenges intersect with our global footprint and our customers in more than 220 countries and territories.
In 2021, we announced a new set of company-wide ESG goals, including a commitment to carbon neutrality for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions across our global operations by 2050. Our 2035 environmental sustainability goals include halving carbon emissions per package delivered in global small-order operations, ensuring all our facilities are powered by renewable electricity and that 30% of the fuel used in the global air fleet is sustainable aviation fuel.
As an innovation-driven company, we collaborate with public and private partners to develop technological and natural solutions and support high-quality offsets to reduce our carbon footprint while serving our customers. We've partnered with Arrival to develop vehicle concepts to UPS specifications and have committed to acquire up to 10,000 electric delivery vehicles, and our fleet includes more than 13,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. In addition, we have a clear ambition to invest in communities and positively impact the lives of 1 billion people by 2040.
At UPS, we continue to deliver social impact through our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and employee engagement through volunteerism. The UPS Foundation invests in our global communities with cash grants, in-kind support and skilled volunteers and is also dedicated to promoting volunteerism among its employees through many programs. Planting 50 million trees by 2030 is among our goals to ensure environmental justice and a more sustainable world.
Cem Akalın: What kind of investments do you have in Türkiye and globally? Which areas are your focus at UPS during this period?
Engin Kolat: At UPS, we continue to invest in helping our partners adapt faster and more efficiently to global export opportunities. Our recent investments in Türkiye include an air cargo hub, new delivery centers, hub centers and technology investments. We are also developing our logistics and transportation solutions to support our expansion in Türkiye. On a global scale, we invest in sustainability and focus on reducing our carbon footprint. In this regard, we are increasing our investments in areas such as alternative fuel use, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction. We also help our customers optimize their business processes through our investments in technology. Thanks to our smart logistics solutions and customer-oriented digital services, our customers can track their shipments faster, more efficiently and in an eco-friendly way.
We are committed to contributing to Türkiye’s growth and exports. In this context, we continued to invest in the growth of trade, e-commerce and e-export by launching the Izmir Transfer Center in 2016, the Istanbul Airport Center in 2019 and the Istanbul European Transfer Center in 2021.
In 2018, within the scope of the 25-year contract we signed with İGA management, we continue to be a bridge between different markets and exporters by contributing to the growth targets of the country with our investment in Istanbul Airport. Thanks to the presence of Istanbul Airport, we have begun to conduct many of our operations in Türkiye through this hub, thus promising our customers more speed and export performance. We also continue to facilitate trade for businesses and entrepreneurs with our digital investments.
Cem Akalın: What are your projections for air logistics in Türkiye in terms of growth, challenges, and opportunities?
Engin Kolat: Türkiye is an important air cargo transit point worldwide because of its geographical location, and air transportation plays an essential role in Türkiye’s exports. This offers great potential for air logistics companies. We believe that Türkiye’s domestic market potential and global trade volume are also major opportunities for the air logistics sector. However, there are, of course, some challenges for air logistics, as in every field. Türkiye’s existing air logistics infrastructure needs to be improved. Some parts of Türkiye have limited access to airports, while others have insufficient capacity. Although the growth potential for the air logistics sector in Türkiye is high, challenges in the sector should also be considered. For the sector to develop, measures such as increasing investments in airports, improving logistics infrastructure and reinforcing the competitiveness of air cargo carriers need to be taken