"Speed & priority services designed to respond to customers' expectations"

In an interview with The STAT Trade Times, Daniel Lloyd Johnson, Senior Vice President Cargo Product & Customer Experience at Turkish Airlines, discusses Turkish Cargo's three new solutions on offer for shipments.

Speed & priority services designed to respond to customers expectations

With a network sprawled across 132 countries, Turkish Cargo has been around for over eight decades since its inception in 1933, offering air cargo services to over 340 destinations.

In a bid to make Istanbul, the logistics centre of the world by directing a bulk of the global air cargo traffic to Istanbul Airport, Turkish Cargo has set up a mega cargo terminal – SMARTIST – which in Turkish Cargo's own words is "among the largest hubs in the world".

According to Turkish Cargo's website, "While Turkey is getting ready to become a new reference point for the world upon opening of the Mega Hub Istanbul Airport, Turkish Cargo's SMARTIST facility will have a closed area of 340,000 m2 and an annual capacity to sort out 4 million tonnes of cargo."

About ambitions for SMARTIST's future, Turkish Cargo has this to say, "Our mega facility will also highlight the intercontinental location of Istanbul and serve as a gate that is excellent for the trade between the East and the West."

With that said the Istanbul-headquartered carrier is certainly going places. In August this year, the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) World Air Transport Statistics data named Turkish Cargo as the first among the European air cargo companies and the fourth among the global airlines, based on its total transportation performance.

About the honour, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Ahmet Bolat said in a public statement, "As the fastest-growing air cargo brand in the world, we continue to add value to the air cargo industry with our contributions to the supply chain and maintain our critical role when it comes to increasing the global trade's competition power. We are on the march towards our target to become one of the top 3 air cargo brands in the world in 2025 by carrying this success performed by Turkish Cargo in Europe to all corners of the world."

The carrier recorded an immense performance climbing up the ladder to fourth position from the 22nd in the last global rankings. According to Turkish Cargo, it had increased its market share to the level of 5.2% from the 2.6% in the last five years.

The carrier also states that it had 13 cargo planes in its fleet in 2017, and increased this number by 53.8% to 20 in 2022. In parallel with the expansion of the fleet, the number of destinations operated with freighters nearly doubled by reaching 100 in 2022.

Moving ahead with its vision for 2025, Turkish Cargo launched three new shipment solutions in June this year to keep up with the rise in demand – TK SMART, TK PREMIUM and TK URGENT.

While TK SMART is angled at general cargo transportation, the Turkish Cargo website states that it also offers cost-effective advantages for shipments without weight or size limitations. TK PREMIUM is targeted at fulfilling critical shipments with short journey times or latest acceptance times (LATs), while also providing minimum connections and fast delivery.

The STAT Trade Times caught up with Daniel Lloyd Johnson, Senior Vice President Cargo Product & Customer Experience at Turkish Airlines to tell us more about these solutions.

Turkish Cargo launched three new services for shipments in June – TK SMART, TK PREMIUM and TK URGENT. Why was the need to launch these three separate services felt by Turkish Cargo?
Turkish Cargo has customers working in various supply chains and shipping a wide variety of goods and products to all corners of the world, and each of such shipments has specific requirements. We, as Turkish Cargo, understand that supply chains and air cargo sometimes need to respond in various forms to various circumstances and also that all cargo does not need to move at the same speed and with the same priority and at the same level of urgency. In this regard, our primary focus is to analyse the customer expectations and requirements accurately while developing our new services, and thus, to be able to provide them with the most effective solutions. Accordingly, our Speed & Priority Services are designed in a manner to respond to the expectations of our customers in terms of flexibility, speed, and priority.

Within this scope, Turkish Cargo launched three new services which are TK SMART, TK PREMIUM and TK URGENT to meet the needs of customers demanding different Speed & Priority Services. These new services allow our customers to take full advantage of Turkish Cargo's brand new, high-end hub at İstanbul Airport and network capabilities. Thanks to their different service parameters, the carrier's new Speed & Priority Services generate significant added value and appeal to a wide range of industry verticals.

Daniel Lloyd Johnson, Senior Vice President Cargo Product & Customer Experience at Turkish Airlines

What kind of customer base are these services targeted at?
Turkish Cargo's Speed & Priority Services are addressed to a wide range of industry verticals thanks to various service parameters, in addition to the current operations of Turkish Cargo.

TK SMART, which has been developed for the general cargo shipments, is the most preferred one for the routine shipments, as all shipments can be transported without being subject to any limitation in terms of weight or size and without any special handling requirement. Turkish Cargo provides a time-defined solution with TK SMART to its customers to meet their needs in terms of options and flexibility

Turkish Cargo's customers who need priority in their shipments and shorter service times can benefit from faster transit times, high priority in operational processes, performance and capacity guarantee for all shipments up to 300kg with TK PREMIUM services. This offer allows efficient business processes, and especially with regard to last-minute shipment requests. TK PREMIUM has increased the mobility of our customers, which was an important need in the market. TK PREMIUM can be utilised for all special and general cargo shipments other than live animals and valuable cargo shipments.

"All of these new services have been designed in such a way that our customers can get maximum benefit from the capacity and technological infrastructure of our facility, SMARTIST"

Daniel Lloyd Johnson, Senior Vice President Cargo Product & Customer Experience at Turkish Airlines

TK URGENT, which has been designed specifically for last-minute shipments that are of urgent nature, provides the opportunity to ship with capacity guarantee, shortest acceptance, minimum connection, and with the possible shortest journey time for such shipments. With TK URGENT service, shipments are carried as FAB (flown as booked) and with a 100% refund guarantee under certain circumstances and conditions.

Turkish Cargo's TK URGENT service has been developed in a manner to be combined with all special and general cargo, including the CEIV-certified TK PHARMA, TK FRESH, and TK LIVE products. This enables the transportation of the pharmaceutical shipments that are of urgent and highly temperature sensitive nature. Within this framework, we see a lot of critical aircraft on ground (AOG) and Rig Down shipments moving with this service. automotive and high-tech shipments are also regular users of the Urgent services.

TK URGENT ensures coordination for your shipments under the surveillance of the 24/7 accessible TK URGENT team at SMARTIST throughout the journey from the point of departure to the destination. Can you comment on how this is managed, particularly when it comes to critical shipments?With the TK URGENT service, Turkish Cargo aims to facilitate customers shipping in their most urgent situations and offer rapid and efficient transfer times.

This team works on a 24/7 basis with you, monitor your shipments end-to-end, and work coordinated with all of our internal teams from reservation to after-sales stages. In addition to that, the team uses a combination of internal operational and flight management systems in order to track and manage systems and they are constantly in contact with outstations and local operating systems. Thanks to our services such as the end-to-end process monitoring, 24/7 available customer services team, and our digital communication channels, we carry out a continuous and transparent communication during each phase of the contact we have with our customers.

Source: Turkish Cargo

Are different aircraft models used for each of these services? If so, why are these distinctly used for each of these services?
All of our passenger and cargo aircraft can be used for Speed & Priority Services. Thanks to Turkish Cargo's large fleet of 386 aircraft, we can carry shipments of our new services, regardless of wide-body or narrow-body.

What kind of role does SMARTIST have to play for these services?
Our ability to meet changing customer expectations with Turkish Cargo's infrastructure investments and operational competence lies behind our service quality. All of these new services have been designed in such a way that our customers can get maximum benefit from the capacity and technological infrastructure of our facility, SMARTIST.

In line with this goal, Turkish Cargo's new hub at Istanbul Airport, SMARTIST, is among the largest hubs in the world. SMARTIST was built as a high-end, product and customer focused facility. Turkish Cargo's SMARTIST facility, which will provide a capacity opportunity of 2 million tonnes on annual basis at the first phase, will achieve a capacity of 4 million tonnes on annual basis at an area of 340,000m2 upon the completion of the second phase.

SMARTIST facility has been equipped with Industry 4.0, Logistics R&D, Innovative studies and technological infrastructure. Technologies such as Automatic Storage and Retrieval System and Robotic Process Automation, the facility carries Turkish Cargo's unique service quality much further in terms of operational speed and quality. These brand-new systems use their own artificial intelligence to optimise their movements, resulting in minimisation of any intervention by employees and therefore enhancing the quality of service. The new facility of Turkish Cargo addresses the needs of the market and maximises customer satisfaction by ensuring that all cargo processes, from acceptance to delivery, are carried out with the highest possible standards of quality.

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