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NEWS E-Commerce to the Gulf Booms, Istanbul Airport Becomes a Hub

12 Jun 2024

The surge in shopping from Turkey by Gulf countries during Ramadan has transformed Istanbul Airport into an e-commerce hub. The temporary warehouses at the airport are overflowing with goods destined for Riyadh.

In the e-commerce sector, where the fastest delivery gains an edge, Istanbul Airport has become the address for speed. Companies like Amazon, Trendyol, and Alibaba have chosen Istanbul Airport as a distribution centre, especially for products aimed at the Gulf region. Industry representatives noted a significant increase in e-commerce transportation from Istanbul to Saudi Arabia over the past two months, with temporary warehouses filled with goods bound for Riyadh.

Trendyol sellers, who opened their second pop-up store in the Gulf region in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, made over 1 million sales in the region during Ramadan. Sales to the Gulf accounted for 25% of all sales. E-exporters made the most sales to Riyadh, Jeddah, Baku, Dubai, Mecca, and Abu Dhabi. Trendyol, which reached 2 million active customers in the region within 8 months, aims to increase its customer base to 6 million by the end of the year. Trendyol's export target for this year is $2.5 billion, up from $650 million last year.

Istanbul Airport, where 99% of e-commerce operations are carried out, handled 629 tons of air cargo transportation in the first four months of this year, a 97% increase compared to the previous year. This growth was solely supported by Istanbul Airport.

Serkan Eren, Board Member of the International Transportation and Logistics Service Providers Association (UTIKAD), noted that online marketplaces such as Trendyol, Hepsiburada, and Alibaba had significant air cargo shipments to Saudi Arabia. Eren highlighted the intense traffic from Istanbul to Riyadh over the past two months, with temporary storage places filled with goods heading there. He stated, "Saudis have started shopping online. In e-commerce, the fastest delivery gains a competitive advantage. They prefer Istanbul Airport for fast delivery. Goods collected from China are consolidated in Istanbul and distributed. 99% of e-export operations are carried out from Istanbul."

"Istanbul to Become an E-Commerce Hub"

Hakan Çevikoğlu, President of the Electronic Commerce Operators Association (ETID), mentioned that one out of every four e-commerce packages worldwide went abroad. In contrast, in Turkey, this ratio was one in five. He said, "As a sector, we aim to reach a turnover of 3.3 trillion liras by the end of 2024, and we believe that e-export will be quite influential in reaching these figures. Cross-border e-commerce is growing rapidly worldwide. Istanbul Airport stands out naturally with its large capacity to meet this demand. We believe that Istanbul Airport will soon become an e-commerce hub."

Onur Tekin, General Manager of Asset Worldwide Express, stated, "The Gulf region, in terms of consumption, has become a target for domestic and foreign marketplaces. Besides Turkish marketplaces, Far Eastern companies are also conducting highly competitive campaigns in the region. As a result, globally, aircraft capacities are struggling to meet the demand. At this point, Istanbul Airport, with both the number of flights and geographical proximity, is on the way to becoming a transfer centre for e-commerce as THY is a strong player in the region."

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