Türkiye appeals for donations as earthquakes close Iskenderun shipping port

Türkiye’s Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association (IHKIB), and led by Türkiye’s Ministry Of Interior Disaster And Emergency, the Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM), is calling for cash donations as well as winter clothes and blankets following  7+ magnitude earthquakes (6 February) and a fire at the Port of Iskenderun.

Türkiye is a major fashion sourcing destination for global brands and retailers, however the earthquakes have mostly impacted the Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras regions, which is about an 11-hour drive from Istanbul, the heart of the country’s manufacturing sector.

The first earthquake took place in the early hours of 6 February in Türkiye and Syria, and the second in under a 12-hour period. The death toll currently stands at over 5,000.

According to Reuters witnesses and footage, the large fire burned and a plume of black smoke drifted high into the air on Monday above Türkiye’s southern Iskenderun port, in the Mediterranean Sea-side province of Hatay.

A statement yesterday by Sealant, a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk, said there has been “significant” damage to logistics and transport infrastructure around the Pazarcik, Kahramanmaras, epicentre, including at the Port of Iskenderun.

“The port has unfortunately been subject to severe structural damage, leading to a complete stop of all operations until further notice. Roads have also been heavily affected, and at this time vendors are not moving any trucks in and around the area.”

Given the situation at Iskenderun, Sealant said will need to perform a change of destination for all bookings bound for the port or already on the water. The shipper is currently planning to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transshipment ports – including Port of Mersin and Port Said.

“It is not yet clear when the Port of Iskenderun will see a return to normal operations, but we will keep you informed as soon as we know more and continue to update our relief packages in line with customer needs – full details and terms will be communicated when finalised,” Sealant said.

The donation appeal to help all those affected by the earthquakes includes cash donations as well as winter clothes, socks, underwear, winter shoes and boots, blankets, baby diapers, electric heaters and dried food.

Exporters’ associations in Istanbul – ITKIB, IMMIB, IIB and HIB – initiated an immediate aid campaign in coordination with the official Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Türkiye to help the victims.

IHKIB told Just Style yesterday it was trying to determine the potential “effects” on the apparel sector.

IHKIB, which represents the apparel industry in Türkiye, pointed out that in recent years many manufacturers have opened a second production place in Anatolia, but it is still difficult to say whether their production will be affected.

A spokesperson for IHKIB said: “As the garment industry is mostly located in Istanbul (about 75% of industry export is from Istanbul) we do not expect any real influence. Nevertheless, we are still trying to see the real effects of the earthquake. God bless the passed away persons.”

Türkiye is the world’s fifth largest garment exporter, after China, the European Union, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Turkish apparel exports were worth $17.7bn in 2019, $17.1bn in 2020, and $20.3bn in 2021, a growth rate of 18.3%, according to İHKİB figures.

The industry has been steadily modernising over the past decade, including investing in industry 4.0 tech, such as German brand Hugo Boss, which has an advanced factory in İzmir, western Turkey. 

Hello Textile Web News Desk