A U.S.-Georgian consortium has been awarded a $2.5 billion contract to build and develop a deep-sea port in Anaklia on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, as the tiny ex-Soviet republic sets eyes on lucrative cargo transit from Asia to Europe.
The Anaklia Development Consortium is a joint venture of Georgia’s TBC Holding LLC and Conti International LLC, a U.S.-based developer of infrastructure and capital projects, Georgia’s Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The consortium, selected in a tender, aims to start the construction of the port by the end of 2016 and finish it in three years. The port will have the capacity to berth container ships of the 10,000 TEU type and to process up to 100 million tonnes of cargo per year upon completion.
“We are looking forward to breaking ground and working with the government of Georgia to help forge new paths from Asia to Europe as well as unlocking the economic potential of Georgia’s neighbors,” said Kurt Conti, Conti International’s CEO and president, was quoted as saying in the ministry’s statement.
The consortium is expected to raise investment from international financial institutions and port operators, who will be selected within the next six months, the Economy Ministry said.
The Anaklia Development Consortium was also awarded the right to develop a free industrial zone on about 600 hectares of land adjacent to the port.
Two other Black Sea ports in Georgia – Batumi and Poti – are capable to handle only feeder vessels, carrying a maximum of 1,700 containers.
Larger Panamax size vessels with Georgia-bound cargo use other ports in the region, mostly Turkey’s Istanbul, where containers are reloaded to feeder ships which then are transported to Poti and Batumi.
In 2014 container throughput of Georgian ports increased by 18.5 percent year-on-year to 480,000 TEUs of which 80 percent was handled by the country’s largest port in Poti.
(Corrects third paragraph to say “upon completion,” not “by 2025”, after clarification from ministry)
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov)