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Growing global demand fuels innovation in grain logistics

10 June 20244 min reading

In an interview during the recent IDMA Istanbul Expo, Mehmet Büyükzeren, the General Manager of Yılmaz Kardeş Hydraulic Machinery Industry Co., shares his insights on the critical role of logistics in the global grain trade and the increasing demand for advanced unloading platforms.

The global grain trade is a dynamic network of interconnected systems, and logistics is its backbone. Behind every sack of flour or bag of rice lies a complex network of transportation, storage and distribution channels that ensure the delivery of these grains that play a fundamental role in the world’s nutrition. 

We discussed the critically important logistics sector with Mehmet Büyükzeren, General Manager of Yılmaz Kardeş Hydraulic Machinery Industry Co., at the IDMA Istanbul Expo. Yılmaz Kardeş is a well-established company that pioneered the manufacturing of hydraulic unloading platforms in Turkey in 1973. The company installs these platforms across various sectors, particularly in the flour industry, feed industry, grain silos, and terminals. The significance of these platforms became more apparent during the construction and modernization of grain terminals along the Danube River and on Ukraine’s western borders amidst its conflict with Russia.

Büyükzeren highlights the growing demand for their platforms in Ukraine and Russia. “There are significant projects in the western regions of Ukraine, and we are currently focused on this area. Our mobile platforms are preferred for the grain trade. We also collaborate with major companies in Russia, and the demand and number of customers in this country are increasing.” He explains that investments in grain logistics are also rising in Africa, particularly in Uganda and Kenya, with substantial orders coming from this region as well.

“In the grain industry, logistics is not just a supporting factor; it is a critical determinant of success,” says Büyükzeren, emphasizing the heightened awareness of this fact during the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent Suez Canal crisis. “It has become increasingly vital not only to produce the grain but also to safely store and export it when necessary,”. 

Underscoring the evolving dynamics of grain logistics, he states, “Fifteen years ago, we built a platform in Mongolia. Upon revisiting the facility recently, we found a demand for a larger platform. Previously, roads were not suitable for large vehicles, but now, with widened roads and larger vehicles, an 18-meter platform is sought after. This trend is not unique; it’s widespread globally. Rising fuel and energy costs have prompted companies to transport grain in larger capacity vehicles, necessitating the growth of platforms. Additionally, we observe an increase in production capacities in flour and feed plants, driven by cost efficiencies in large-scale production. Consequently, storage capacity must expand to accommodate the increased raw material inflow and mitigate market fluctuations. Public and private companies worldwide are investing in expanding grain storage capacity, positively impacting our business.”

He also points out that there is a growing demand for the containerization of grain instead of shipping it as bulk cargo. He noted that this method of transporting grain saves time and reduces product loss.

Noting that customer demand has driven them to develop faster, more effective, and mobile platforms, Büyükzeren said that within this perspective, they aim to develop a new product that serves as both a platform and a scale. Stating that they plan to commence production next year after conducting the necessary engineering studies, he emphasized that such a system would alleviate truck queues in flour mills and grain terminals and reduce the waiting time for unloading. He mentioned that they would be able to install this new system with some adaptations on the platforms they had previously provided.

“Logistics is the lifeblood of the grain industry,” said Mehmet Büyükzeren. “As global demand for grains continues to grow, the importance of logistics will increase, driving innovation and development in supply chain management. We are celebrating our 65th anniversary this year. We have nearly 2 thousand platforms in nearly 40 countries. We aim to uphold the legacy passed down from our fathers by advancing our company. To achieve this, we prioritize innovation and technology investment.”

PRAISE FOR IDMA’S GLOBAL REACH AND DIVERSE VISITORS

Mehmet Büyükzeren expressed his great pleasure to participate in IDMA and stated that the diversity of visitors from different countries was encouraging. Büyükzeren said, “Among the visitors to our stand, there were 14 foreign visitors against 4 local companies. Professionals from various countries from Mongolia to Madagascar, from Kenya to Ukraine and Russia, from Angola and Uganda to Serbia, Sudan and Jordan came to our stand. This shows that the foreign promotion of the exhibition was done very well. I would like to thank those who worked hard and I definitely want to participate in the next IDMA.”

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