Minister of Economy Natia
Turnava abolished the decision to issue
a permit for the construction of a deep-water port in Poti, but as APM-Terminals,
which owns the port, says, it has not
yet received official notification about this.
The scandal broke out on
May 28, when IPM said in the media that the company had received permission to
build a deep-water port in Poti, the decision was opposed by Anaklia Development Consortium. The Consortium management said that a permit to
build a port in Poti actually means the failure of the Anaklia project, since the
country doesn’t need two deep-water ports at a distance of a couple of tens of
In response, the minister said
that the permit was issued in violation of the procedures, and without
notifying the leadership of the Agency for Construction Supervision - as a
result, the head of the agency was dismissed, and the permit was withdrawn.
The chronology of the
confrontation of two potential ports is as follows:
On January 3, 2019, APM
Terminals and Poti New Terminals
to the Ministry of Economy the concept of the Poti port expansion which provides for its deepening to 14.5 meters and
the construction of a 700-meter pier. 25 hectares of land have already been
allocated for the project.
The project also envisages the construction of the bulk cargo terminals.
On January 8-9, some media reported that TBC-Bank CEO Mamuka Khazaradze was
accused of money laundering, and the central bank demanded removal of the
founders of the commercial financial institution from the leadership. In the
end, Mamuka Khazaradze loses all his managerial positions but remains the bank’s major shareholder.
This incident is
considered as a threat to the Anaklia port project carried out by Anaklia Development Consortium, which is a
subsidiary of TBC Bank.
In the midst of these events,
the third project appears - on February 4, 2019, the Pace Group and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) signed an agreement to build a
new terminal in Poti - the project also envisages the deepening of the port to
a level allowing to receive vessels with a capacity of 50,000 tons.
OPIC allocates $ 50 million for the construction of the terminal; construction
is planned to be completed by the end of 2020.
May 2019, the Georgian government officials met with representatives of major
international financial institutions to discuss the issues related to the financing of the Anaklia
The sides failed to reach an agreement, because of the 8 points presented by
investors, one turned out to be unacceptable for the government. Namely, if the
port is unprofitable and is unable to attract a sufficient amount of cargo, the
Georgian government will assume the compensation of losses and repay a loan to
the banks in the amount of $ 400 million.
The Minister of Economy was confident in the commercial viability of the
project but still the government could not take on such an obligation.
APM Terminals is
integrated into the world's largest container shipping company Maersk, which operates in 74 ports in 58 countries.
The company bought the port of Poti in
Anaklia Development Consortium won a tender for construction of Anaklia deep-water port with a capacity of 100
million tons in 2016.
founders of the consortium are Mamuka Khazaradze and the American businessman