Turkish Cargo, the global air cargo arm of Turkish Airlines, has the world’s largest direct cargo flight network excluding express carriers which has enabled them to deliver 320 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 55 countries around the world. Turhan Özen, its chief cargo officer, explains their services for the life sciences industry and why the company received the tile of Best Cargo Airline in Europe.


What are the main services offered by Turkish Cargo to biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies?

Turkish Cargo continues to transport healthcare to more than 300 destinations in the world with its operational quality, special transportation methods and expert teams in the transportation of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical products. 

As Turkish Cargo, we transport sensitive medicine with a half-life of less than 24 hours, to prevent them from losing their effectiveness for patients in West Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and India, and we deliver them throughout the world. Increasing its global market share in pharmaceutical transportation to 8 percent, Turkish Cargo enhanced its capacity when it comes to cold air depots while increasing its active and passive container capacity in order to prioritize medical transportation. 


How does the company’s state-of-the-art technology and IATA CEIV certified HUB differentiate it from its competitors?

Turkish Cargo’s Istanbul Hub has special storage areas for temperature-controlled drugs, vaccines, medical supplies and food products. All products are monitored with hygienic and standard maintenance processes. Perishable cargo with sensitivity to temperature are stored thanks to special storage rooms with four different temperature ranges at the cargo terminal equipped with high standards. Temperature values of special cargo rooms are monitored via the telemetry automatic system, and there is a system in place which is capable of sending an automatic message in case of any alarm caused by any difference in the temperature range. 

Thermal covers and thermal dolly services are provided upon customers’ request for protection against external environment conditions for perishable cargo with sensitivity to temperature. For temperature sensitive products, thermal dolly is used as an auxiliary equipment to prevent any deterioration in the contents of the products during carriage from temperature-controlled areas to baggage area or vice versa for operations with a connection period of up to 4 hours. Perishable cargo is monitored under an agreement with the Active Cold Chain brand Envirotainer, which provides our customers with active temperature-controlled containers and QEP (Qualified Envirotainer Provider), referring to the accreditation proving that an airline company is capable of performing the Envirotainer transportation operations successfully at stations. 

We, as Turkish Cargo, carry out our operations at top level by holding the “CEIV Pharma” certificate issued by IATA CEIV (Center of Excellence for Independent Validators). We continue to take off with our special products established for shipment of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and access more than 300 destinations in 127 countries across the world. 


To what do you attribute the fact that Turkish Cargo recently received the “Best Cargo Airline in Europe” award during the Air Cargo News Awards 2020?

Innovation, speed, efficiency and vision criteria were among the evaluation criteria of the ‘Best Cargo Airline-Europe’ category at the “AirCargo News Awards 2020” event. As Turkish Cargo, we have achieved this success with the dedication of our employees, the trust and support of our customers. Acting with this awareness, we have adopted a structure that centers both our customers and employees with advanced technology investments to meet the needs of our customers and industry partners.

First of all, we invested in automatic storage and handling systems in our new Hub, SMARTIST, so that storage and handling activities can be carried out quickly and smoothly. Thanks to the Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), we will provide the storage and transfer of loads with a computer-controlled system without the use of operators and forklifts. With the ULD Storage System, we will automate and optimize the ULD storage processes that are currently carried out manually, and thus, we will carry out a fast, simple and high-quality operation process.

We have been running a robotic process automation (RPA) for our internal business processes known as RPA since 2019. Currently, we have 5 different robots named Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Foxtrot which are responsible for a total of 10+ different processes in Turkish Cargo for now and adding more and more processes as we go along the way. We took good steps towards digitalization and one of them is our Whatsapp Chatbot called Cargy which offers to our customers the opportunity to learn AWB status and tariff inquiries based on O&D via WhatsApp. Thanks to this service, customers can get related info with 24/7 access easily with their phones for enhanced customer satisfaction.

In addition, within the scope of the Digital Marketplaces project, which went live in 2021, Turkish Cargo implemented integration with the WebCargo platform, thus providing great convenience to its customers for online reservation. Thanks to the API interface (Application Programming Interface), which has been developed in coordination with ‘Turkish Airlines Technology’, Turkish Cargo’s customers can view the most up-to-date tariffs and fees on the WebCargo platform and complete their reservations within minutes. This cooperation has helped increase operational speed and efficiency; though, Turkish Cargo took a major step towards achieving its goals and become one of the most innovative logistics companies.