Joseph Crowley, deputy managing director of APM Terminals Poti, said that while recent World Bank economic growth forecasts for the broader Caucasus region have reduced, APM Terminals remains committed to its ongoing investment in Poti seaport to anticipate and satisfy the future demand potential.
"This infrastructure investment into the port will help make future gateway volume growth possible, a major factor in Georgia's growing presence as a global trading partner," Crowley told delegates at the 4th Annual Black Sea Ports and Shipping Conference 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. Late last week.
APM Terminals Poti has completed a comprehensive study for the port master plan to drive and accommodate future cargo flows through Georgia and neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan.
With the completion of the Inland Container Terminal last year, APM Terminals has taken the first step towards executing this large scale port expansion. The next phase of the expansion plan, with projected completion in 2018, includes two new deep water berths able to accommodate container vessels of 9,000 teu capacity and an annual throughput capacity of one million teu.
The planned new quay to be constructed in front of the existing Inland Container Terminal, will enable full integration of the terminal yard, road and rail infrastructure into the expanded deep-water mega-port facility.
At completion, the fully built-out mega-port will have an annual cargo throughput capacity of 50 million tonnes and two million teu. With a water depth of up to 16 metres the port will be able to accommodate the largest vessels calling the Black Sea. An adjacent industrial and free trade zone complements the projected cargo throughput growth.
"The Poti mega-port will build upon our existing infrastructure and facilities to create new job and trade opportunities for the port, the country and the region," Crowley said.
Since APM Terminals purchased Poti in April 2011, it has invested over $70m upgrading the outdated port infrastructure and service facilities.
In 2014, total container throughput of Georgian ports was approximately 480,000 teu, with Poti's container volume 80% of this total, or 385,000 teu. In 2015, the current Poti seaport is expected to handle over 8 million tonnes of cargo and 400,000 teu, with more than 1,300 vessel calls.