Anaklia, Georgia (PortSEurope) November 7, 2021 – The Georgian government plans to announce in 2022 a new international tender for an investor for the construction of the country’s first deep-sea port of Anaklia on the Black Sea coast (a project cancelled in January 2020), according to the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Natia Turnava. Is this realistic? The real issues are: Is
the government interested at all in advancing the project?Will serious global investors be interested in a project mired in controversies and local political games?Is a credible investor likely to participate in circumstances where arbitration claims are ongoing about the Government’s treatment of Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) that won the state tender to construct the Anaklia Deep Sea Port and signed a deal with the government in 2016?Does Georgia need, or have the cargo for, another large Black Sea port? On pages 517-518 of the proposed 2021 state budget included the following passage regarding the intended new tender for an Anaklia Port Project: “Potential risks – as it currently stands, due to the potential arbitration dispute, an investor of high reputation and experience may not be selected”. “We still want European or American investors to participate in this project, but we’ll see,” Turnava said. According to her, a few months ago the government invited MTBS (Maritime & Transport Business Solutions), a leading international finance and strategy consultant in port business solutions from the Netherlands to create an updated project and investment proposal. The structure of the project has been slightly modified to make it more attractive to potential investors, Turnava said, but again underlines that the government will not provide any financial guarantees for the project. She said that by the end of 2021 her ministry will invite potential investors to file expression of interest documents. Between 2015 and 2018, MTBS worked to attract a container terminal operator for the new greenfield port in Anaklia. The advisory services included the business case, the transaction process, bid & risk valuation and negotiation support up to contract close. MTBS additionally assisted during the negotiations of the master concession, and with the potential equity investors. The transaction was successfully concluded with the operating agreement between ADC and SSA Marine. Anaklia Deep Sea Port project did not have a chance fighting for its survival against Georgia’s political class, heavily influenced by Moscow, which did not want a facility capable of hosting U.S. and NATO military ships, or a competitor to its own Black Sea cargo ports. Anaklia project also had to face with a domestic competitor – the port of Poti, with its far more realistic and less expensive expansion ambitions. Poti is controlled by Danish logistics giant Maersk. In January 2020, the new Anaklia port project was cancelled by Georgia’s government, and Russia won the protracted game around the idea for a new Anaklia port – the first deep-water port on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. The project descended into chaos, fuelled by inefficient government, bureaucracy and corruption in Georgia, lack of attention from the U.S. and the European Union (EU), and above all, a successful attempt by Moscow to interfere in Georgia’s internal affairs. More PortSEurope news about Anaklia deep sea port in: Georgia plans transport infrastructure investment including for Black Sea ports Was the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project torpedoed in the name of a free zone near Poti port controlled by the founder of the ruling party in Georgia? The Pandora Papers’ revelations Georgia helped Russia sink Anaklia Deep Sea Port project – can Poti replace it? Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.