Like the rest of the world, Turkey has faced significant economic challenges coping with new the COVID-19 reality. According to reports from the Turkish Institute of Statistics, compared to 2019 Turkey's economy contracted 9.9% in the first half of the year. From April to June, consumer spending fell 8.6%. In the second quarter, business investment in fixed assets decreased by 6.1%. Exports and imports fell 35.3% and 6.3%, respectively.
The AsstrA team in Turkey has been adapting to the new challenges since the very beginning of the country's state of emergency was announced. The office’s priority remained providing uninterrupted service for clients, who, like many businesses around the world, were struggling with the consequences of the economic recession.
“Customers from Turkey and across Asia experienced the true professionalism and loyalty of our team. Despite the constantly changing global economic and epidemiological situation and the closure of borders, the Istanbul office showed outstanding teamwork, a can-do attitude, and great results,” said Turkey Region Country Manager and Istanbul Branch Head Elena Firsova.
After the Turkish border was closed in mid-March, difficulties were noted with almost every shipment. In the early days of the lockdown, the AsstrA team offered clients customized schemes with hitching in the neutral zone, cargo delivery with non-Turkish transport companies, alternative transport solutions by sea, and new delivery routes.
Quarantines, forced vacations, holidays, and the global economic slowdown’s effects in Turkey also put pressure on team members. Even so, they stayed in daily contact with clients, shared up-to-date market and border status information, and responded instantly to border closures and other quarantine restrictions. Customers appreciated the team’s proactivity, and the number of orders for the first 9 months of 2020 increased by 23% compared to the same period last year.
“As of the end of August, accumulated turnover, realized transactions, and the number of clients served are all up. Our Turkish team’s efforts and dedication to stay in touch with clients during the quarantine period were not in vain. Over these past 9 challenging months of 2020, our client base actually increased 21% vs. all 12 months of 2019. Already surpassing last year’s results, especially in quarantine and post-quarantine circumstances, is very encouraging,” adds Elena Firsova.
For AsstrA Turkey, the COVID-19 quarantine turned out to be an opportunity to show how smart, fast, and loyal the team could be. Clients’ needs are the priority, and each request is considered promptly and personally. The average request processing speed is 11 minutes, with some requests processed in as little as 1 minute. The team’s competence, flexibility, and innovative logistics solutions are proving to be a hit with clients whether they’re doing business remotely or not.