Deep sea port will not be built in Poti, construction permit cancelled

  • Information about the construction of a new deep-sea port in Poti was released on May 29. Photo: APM Terminals Poti/Facebook., 30 May 2019 - 18:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

A deep sea port in Georgia’s Black Sea port town of Poti will not be built as the construction permit for the port has been cancelled, says Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava.

First of all, I would like to say that this document is not a construction permit. This is the document on the pre-conditions for land use issued by one of our agencies, namely, by the order of the Head of the Agency for Construction and Technical Supervision – this issue was not agreed upon with any member of the government or with me, personally”, said Turnava.

In addition, as it turned out, the document was issued through a violation of certain procedures. Therefore, today we have made a decision to cancel this document, and the head of the agency has been dismissed from his position”, she added.

Information about the construction of a new deep-sea port in Poti was released yesterday and it was announced that $250 million would be spent on the project “through European investment”.

APM Terminals Poti and Poti New Terminals Consortium have submitted a conceptual design for the first stage construction permit of Poti port expansion to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia on January 9, 2019. Photo: APM Termianls Poti.

Anaklia Development Consortium statement

This information turned out to be “shocking” for Anaklia Development Consortium, which is currently overseeing the construction of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port with other investors. 

This information is shocking because the order was issued on May 2, while on 21 May, the government together with the consortium held negotiations with international financial institutions (EBRD, ADB, AIIB and OPIC) over the funding of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port and the government has reported nothing about this fact," the statement says.

The consortium stated that international partners had already made acute assessments regarding this fact and hiding and its concealment.

Consequently, the Anaklia Development Consortium and the parties involved in the Anaklia port project think that if the government does not give instant and radical response to this fact, the Anaklia port project will be suspended”, read the statement.

The CEO of Anaklia Development Consortium Levan Akhvlediani said that there are forces, including in the government, who take deliberate steps to hinder the Anaklia port project.

It is unbelievable that no one in the government knew anything about it for 28 days… I exclude that the entire government is making efforts for it, but the recent developments as well as the fact that the permit, issued on May 2, has been kept secret until now makes it clear that there are forces in the country as well as outside it, who take deliberate steps to hinder the Anaklia port project,” Akhvlediani said.

Government reaction

The construction permit was at first perceived as the government’s intention to hinder the Anaklia Port project. 

Turnava explained that the so called ‘permit’ was cancelled and the project will not be developed in Poti, she also stated that “Anaklia port is of strategic importance for us”.

This project enjoys unprecedented support from the government, including with 300 million GEL worth of infrastructure, 70 million GEL for buying back privately owned land plots and with additional 100 million GEL worth of funds. We are actively working, including with international banks and have high hopes that a private investor – Anaklia Development Consortium will meet its obligations amid such support. We call on it, not to look for various reasons, but to concentrate on fulfilment of existing obligations in order the Anaklia project and the construction [of Anaklia deep-sea port] to be launched in time,” Turnava said.

The construction of Anaklia Deep Sea Port started in 2017, while the opening of the first phase of the port and receiving the ships in Anaklia is planned for 2021.