"The first project for the construction of the port in Anaklia was developed in 1966, respectively, the idea is neither ours nor the current government, it is much older," says the Chairman of the TBC Group Mamuka Khazaradze.
The group is involved in building a deep-water port in the Black Sea town of Anaklia.
According to Khazaradze, even in Soviet times there were 4 projects.
“Under the previous government the name of the project was changed to Lazika, but then it was not implemented. Now there is another attempt to implement this project. We officially announced the beginning of construction works. This project is special, because it changes the economic environment in the region. We have been working on the port project for 3 years, "Khazaradze says.
He notes that the port will also have a free economic zone, for the creation of which a special amendment to the constitution will be adopted and a working group with the participation of foreign experts will be formed.
"Despite the fact that Georgia is a transit country with oil and gas pipelines running through its territory, revenues are insignificant. At the same time, the transit of other types of cargo is limited due to the lack of deep-water ports in the country, "Khazaradze explains. For this reason Georgia can’t serve the transport corridor between East and West.
"Freight train from China reaches Georgia in 8 days, via the Black Sea to Europe – in 5 days. The construction of the port gives us completely new opportunities to transform the country into a transport and logistics hub. We also want to create a financial center with a real concentration of the big economy, " Khazaradze says.
At the same time, the current project of the port is developed on a conservative, pessimistic scenario, without taking into account the opportunities of Chinese transit.
"We took as a basis a pessimistic scenario - we excluded China from our calculations. We know that China transports 350 million tons of cargo to Europe every year, and it is very profitable for us to get at least 1% of this cargo flow," Mamuka Khazaradze notes.
The total cost of the project is $ 2.5 billion, at the first stage it is planned to invest $ 550 million.
The first phase of the construction of the port will begin in December 2017.