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Anaklia port project in limbo?

The government of Georgia, the Anaklia Development Consortium and investors in the US$2.5B Deep Sea Port of Anaklia project need to resolve various issues

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Anaklia port project in limbo?

Difficulties were highlighted by Georgia’s Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili (pictured left) earlier this year.

 

She said in March that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which are planning to invest US$400M in the new harbour, had put forward a number of demands in order to proceed.

 

Anaklia Development Consortium is a joint venture of TBC Holding, Georgia’s leading financial market player, and Conti International, a US-based developer of infrastructure and capital projects. Other key partners include port designer Moffatt & Nichol and transaction advisor Maritime & Transport Business Solutions from the Netherlands.

 

ADC’s detailed plan was presented in May 2017. However, according to Ms Tskitishvili, ADC has failed to attract the necessary US$600M to finance phase one and, as a result, it is impossible to complete it by 20 November 2020, as specified by the PPP contract and a key demand of the international financial institutions.

 

Her arguments have been denied by ADC, whose founders have close links with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze. The whole issue has become highly politicised, and further complicated by money laundering accusations.

 

Furthermore, there are strategic implications. A deep sea port at Anaklia would compete head on with Novorossiysk, and Moscow has repeatedly raised the spectre of the new Georgian port hosting a NATO naval base.

 

In Tblisi, Opposition spokeman Giorgi Bokeria has claimed that the government has set out to "torpedo the project" through protracted tenders, non-transparency and evasiveness on contractual obligations.

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