Interview - Eti Maden

Interview - Eti Maden

Date: 03/06/2020

Eti Maden, the global brand in boron mining of Turkey where has the biggest boron reservein the world, answered questions of DP World Yarımca. Isa Top, Head of Department of Logistics at Eti Maden, answered the questions of our blog and stated that they, as an exporter, closely follows the automation-oriented smart applications of DP World Yarımca. In addition, he made the evaluation “Automation oriented applications are welcomed by us as an exporter corporation. The port location is very advantageous for the export of our production works in Anatolia.”

- Turkey is hosting 70 percent of the world's boron reserves and is also the country that exports the biggest boron. We are talking about an export of 1 billion dollars in total. How many countries and which geographies does Turkey ship its boron products ?

The most significant boron deposits in the world are located in Turkey, Russia and USA. Turkey has a 73 percent share of the 3.3 billion tons of reserves. Other boron deposits are located in China and South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina). Approximately 97 percent of Eti Maden's exports are refined and refined equivalent chemicals. Our corporation earns over one billion dollars in return for the sale of over 2 million tons of boron products. 97 percent of Eti Maden's sales revenues are from exports and 3 percent is from domestic sales.

Eti Maden; It exports its products to more than 100 countries in the Far East, Europe, America, Scandinavia, Africa and the Middle East, respectively, and reaches more than 2,800 customers. China ranks first among the countries we export in 2019 with an export share of 36 percent, USA ranks second and India ranks third. Turkey ranked in the rankings thanks to boron cleaning products in 2019.

- The transport of boron requires a great operation as much as its production. What size of transportation do you have at home and abroad as an annual tonnage?

We can divide the domestic transport into two parts. Firstly, ore and refined product transfer through inter-enterprises. Secondly, shipping products from production works to ports. When we look at it annually, approximately 3 million tons of ore and product transportation volume is realized and serious logistics operation management is provided. In addition, removing the cover materials called overburden during boron ore production, taking it to another area and removing the ore from the quarry and transporting it to the operation areas constitutes a large quantities, but these operations are considered within the scope of mining production activities.

- BORON is known as the salt of the industry. As it is a heavy product like every raw material, which transportation ways do you mostly use in transportation?

The road transportation rate is 64 percent in domestic transportation, while 36 percent railway is used. In recent years, our railway usage rate has been continuously increasing with the support of TCDD.

- Boron production facilities are mainly located in the inner regions of Anatolia. DP World Yarımca established a railway connection for this route. How does delivering the products to the port by rail has a reflection on the costs?

We carry out container shipments from Kırka Boron Enterprise Değirmenözü Logistics Facility to DP World Yarımca port. By extending the railway connection to the port, we got rid off the transfer costs at the stations and it facilitates operations by saving time. Compared to road transport, rail transport provides approximately fifteen to twenty percent advantage in terms of cost.

- Thanks to the R&D studies of Eti Maden, you started to produce cleaning products such as Boron and more value-added defense industry products such as boron carbide in production with Boron. How is the demand in this area and did these products open up new markets for you?

Eti Maden constantly develops by giving importance to R&D activities. Exports, which were largely realised as concentrated ore form  twenty years ago, are now exported as 97 percent as refined boron or refined equivalent products. Our end boron products such as anhydrous borax, boron oxide, zinc borate, Etidot-67, which are used in agriculture in recent years and increasingly use as micronutrients, have been developed and supplied to the world.

The boron cleaning products produced from Turkey's boron to be used in washing machine production began in 2014. It has received great attention, which was launched in 2019 with a new marketing strategy under the brand name of Boron. Boron has the characteristics of being natural mineral, anti-allergic and antifungal. It is a natural and human friendly product, does not contain phosphate, petroleum raw materials, allergen perfumes. Boron has gained a great favor by Turkish People as a national and a local product with the share of about 8 percent in Turkish powder detergent market in 2019. As it is known, after the powder detergent market, liquid detergents and hand disinfectants started to be produced. Also, our R&D studies for liquid dish soap and other products are also continuing.

In the meantime, during the Corona days, licensing and production organization of BOREL; whose laboratory studies were previously carried out by Boren, was completed in a very short time and was put on the market by Eti Maden. It has been a great morale for our people during Covid-19. BOREL with biocidal product license approved by the Ministry of Health; contains boron, 70 percent ethyl alcohol, glycerin, aloevera, tea tree oil and lavender. BOREL also offers solutions for hand drying and cracking problems by reason of disinfectant products.

Boron carbide, as an advanced boron technology product, can be produced approximately 12,000- 15,000 tons per year in the world. As well as the dominant producer country in the market is China, boron carbide is produced in Germany, India, Japan, USA, Ukraine, South Korea and England.

A thousand tons of production will be carried out annually at the Boron Carbide Production Facility in Bandırma, Balıkesir and a product worth approximately 25-30 million dollars will be produced. Boron carbide has a widespread use in the defense industry, from armor-enhancing use to abrasive sanding in the industry and will make a high contribution to our defense industry when its production is completed. A contract has been signed with the Chinese CMEC company for the work in question and works are ongoing.

- What are the shares of container transportation and bulk transportation in your total transportation?

Approximately 40 percent of our export shipments are made by bulk-vessels and 60 percent by containers. Depending on the market conditions, bulk vessels are shipped to Europe and America in large measure, while containers are shipped to the Far East. In addition, small amount of shipment is made to neighboring countries by roads and railways.

- You have made serious investments in the automation of logistics activities. What is the change that the works carried out in this context bring to your logistics processes? Have logistics processes become faster with automation?

Eti Maden has a well-established Corporate Culture in using the data processing and the advanced technologies of the time. Beginning in the late 1980s, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) were introduced. At the time of Etibank, export invoices were issued through the mainframe system. It launched Oracle-based ERP in 1999. In 2016, it started to use SAP with all modules from sales to financial management and from receiving online orders to all logistics processes. At the end of very challenging processes such as experienced by all companies using SAP, now it has gained great comfort. The follow-up and operation dominance has increased at all stages of all production, shipment and logistics processes. With the installation of the RFID system integrated in the SAP system at the Works of Eti Maden, the processes from the production line to the port can be tracked through automation with the RFID tags on the product. Likewise, our weighbridge has been integrated into the Ministry of Transportation's (VGM) verified gross weight system, thus provided a great financial and operational advantage.

Similarly, the freight bidding and evaluation processes of those sales and shipments whose orders had received online, are carried out completely electronically for two years with the internet interface program integrated with the SAP system. Our ship-owner and agency stakeholders gained high appreciation and trust to this system, also became exemplary in the market. With this system, our stakeholders enter their bids in the system within a few minutes, the bids remain locked in the system until the evaluation time. When the evaluation time comes, the evaluation is completed in five minutes and the bids are transferred to our system and integrated. In the next stage of these systems, data exchange with shipping line is considered as a target in container booking processes.

- DP World Yarımca also invests in automation and smart technologies. What kind of service do you receive in terms of speed and efficiency in the operation of the port. As a customer, would you evaluate the port's performance and the aspects that differ from other ports?

The investments you make in cranes, which is one of the most important equipment that increases the performance of the ports, the speed of the evacuation processes in the container transports we make to the port by rail, and the introduction of smart applications prior to automation to reduce the port exit times of the containers arriving by the road, are developments that we closely follow and are welcomed by us as the exporter corporation. DP World Yarımca port reveals less manpower and more technology-centric image with its central automation capabilities, and we believe that you will gain more customer satisfaction when the targeted automation systems are fully integrated with customs administrations and regional road traffic. The port location is very advantageous for the export of our production works in Anatolia.

Your solution-oriented understanding is always satisfying.