GNW Logistics - Interview with Özge Batmaz
9:00am on Thursday 29th November 2018
GNW Logistics is the freight forwarder company of Turkey's pioneer logistics service provider Gunaydin Group. NorthWestern Logistics, which was founded in 2009, has joined Gunaydin Group which has been operating in transportation since 1967 and started to serve with GNW Logistics brand. They have taken effective role in global supply chain to one step further by being an infinitely reliable partner to their customers and agencies through keeping their existing service portfolio within ocean, air and land freight as their keystone of their business. Let's get to know more about them through their Account Manager of Sales - Özge Batmaz.
Which seasons of the year are toughest in your job?
ÖB - There are diverse kinds of commodities exported from Turkey: marble, dried foodstuff, fresh vegetables, mines, etc. and each one has different seasons, so there is no such time of the year. I can only say, the first quarter of the year is usually the most difficult, because the freight rates reach the lowest level at the end of the year; usually shipping lines collide to increase the rates, where we usually have difficulty convincing our clients.
Could you describe your typical workday as a forwarder?
ÖB - Arrive at the office 9:00am and start work by checking the emails. My routine includes: replying to my client’s requests, customer visits, visits to the shipping lines. During these visits, I try to gain information about the market, then evaluate it with our team in the office within the meetings.
What made you choose logistics as a career?
ÖB - As a passionate lover of everything related to the sea, I decided to do my Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Business. I have graduated from Dokuz Eylul University, School of Maritime Business & Management.
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
ÖB - Patience, first! Good analytical thinking, a good level of reading & writing in English. Strong human relationships are another must. You have to listen and understand the client’s needs and expectations very well and find solutions for them.
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
ÖB - As a freight forwarder in Turkey, the most challenging issue is dealing with the shipping lines. Shipping lines in Turkey prefer to be in direct contact with the exporters, so keeping your clients as part of your portfolio is challenging.
What do you find most enjoyable?
ÖB - Dynamism. You face up with a new case each day, so your learning process never ends in this industry.
Can you please share us your humble beginnings as a company and how you progressed?
ÖB - GNW is a member of Gunaydin Group, which has been active in logistics sector for more than 50 years. The company was established in Izmir in 1967, started as an inland haulage company owning 5 trucks. Within 50 years, by adding services according to our client's requirements, it has become a "Logistics Company" by all means and is considered to be the biggest Logistics Company in Turkey. We specialize in almost all modes of transportation: road, ocean, air & railway. To give you an overview we have:
- 2350 personnel
- 1600 owned & 4000 leased vehicles
- 17 warehouses
- 4 railway logistics facilities
- 5 container yards
- Port terminal operator (Gemlik Port)
Our partners take place in top management of UTIKAD (Association of International Forwarding and Logistics Service Providers in Turkey), as well as Chamber of Shipping and play an important role in representing the interests of the industry.
What are the current difficulties or challenges you are facing in Turkey, when it comes to logistics?
ÖB - Turkey is very lucky and advantageous, as three sides of the country are surrounded by the sea. Also, it is very advantageous by means of its geopolitical position. The major problem we face is the customs procedures. Regulations are very strict and often modified, it makes both import & export shipments clearance more difficult than in many countries in the world. As a freight forwarder, our major difficulty is shipping lines agents, they are and prefer to be in direct contact with the exporters/importers.
In projects, we do know that there are different type of shipments, what do you specialize in? And why you choose it?
ÖB - Due to our expertise we gathered in 50 years, we were able to handle all the inquiries we received. GNW Logistics proved its proficiency in several cargo shipments projects such as:
- Textile Plant Movement to India
- Mill Parts Movements to US and Europe
- Silos Pakistan Project
- Generator Egypt Project
- Construction Machines Korea Project
- Pomps & Underground Concreting USA Project
- Ore & marble shipments to worldwide with Special Stuffing Machines
- Several Out Of Gauge Container Shipments to Worldwide
If you can change anything about the freight forwarding industry, what would it be?
ÖB - In Turkey, not everyone should be able to establish a company. Some specifications such as a good capital or a certificate must be required. Finally, starting from 2019, Freight Forwarder’s Liability will be requested from all companies in Turkey, and I believe, this will bring more quality to this sector.
Do you think new technologies is vital in the Project sector? Are there any new technologies in particular that your company has embraced?
ÖB - We have an IT team in our group, and they continuously design special programs for easy tracking, safety, sustainability, etc..
What's the most challenging project shipment you've ever handled?
ÖB - Other than the usual out of gauge break-bulk shipments, the most challenging and interesting shipment we have handled was the shipment of live crocodiles from Australia to Turkey.
What's required of a break-bulk specialist to stay relevant and current in the industry?
ÖB - Good market knowledge & having a very good communication channel is vital. We must be in a good contact with the shippers and ship owners. We do not only act as brokers and sometimes pay the freight to the ship owner on behalf of the shipper, so credibility and reliability is very important.
Do you have your project equipment or you outsource it? If yes, how essential it is for you to have your own? If not, have you encounter delay due to this?
ÖB - We are the port operators of Gemlik and Petkim Ports and we have warehouses nearby two container ports in Izmir. We handle the stuffing, lashing and securing of not only ours, but also most of the shipping agencies’s & freight forwarder’s project shipments with our own trucks, cranes, stackers, etc.. . In case needed, we outsource lowbeds, but we never encountered any delays due to this. We have trustable partners, and project shipment planning is done very carefully and within a proper time period.
Few examples of the OOG shipments they have handled with their own manpower & equipment. Lashing, securing, loading and survey are arranged by our GNW team.
They handle both domestic and international land freight for this oversize cargo as they the exclusive carrier of a world-wide known brand within North America & Canada trade.
They have all kinds of special equipment in their warehouses that provide a solution for stuffing of unpalletized cargo. Since such equipment were not available in Turkey a short while ago, especially steel producers were not able to take advantage of benefits of containerization. GNW is the initiator for stuffing the steel products into dry containers.
This precious was moved all the way from Australia to
Turkey by air. We welcomed her and her husband in Istanbul, customs cleared and
accommodated them in the biggest shopping mall in Europe.
Within 2017, they also have shipped 10 transporters weighing between 20-150 ton (one piece) from Dubai – Sudan & from Turkey to Madagascar.