Georgian Economy Minister Levan Davitashvili on Friday highlighted the “great” potential of Georgia’s transport infrastructure for growth and development while speaking at a plenary session of the Parliament.
Davitashvili said that by developing port, railway and transport infrastructure in the country it would be possible to increase cargo turnover and develop new markets.
He noted that the share of transport and warehousing in the economy had been “impressive” in recent years.
In 2021 and 2022 it has increased especially, up to 6.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2022. The growth of the transport sector itself was very impressive - in 2021 we had 28.9 percen growtht, in 2022 - 28.4 percent, and we have significant growth in the first half of 2023 as well”, he said.
Davitashvili said the development of the Anaklia deep sea port project in the country’s west would play an “important role” in the development of the whole sector, but mentioned that coordination with the neighbouring countries of Georgia was also important in this process.
The Anaklia project, the ports of Poti and Batumi, and the railway infrastructure of the country serve the so-called Middle Corridor that connects Georgia with Europe and the countries of Central Asia and the East. Therefore, in this case, it is very important to take into account the capacity of the Corridor”, Davitashvili said.
Davitashvili said that a construction tender on the port project would be announced “in the next few weeks", while the port should become operational within three years from the start of the construction. He said the construction was expected to be launched nine months after the signing of the contract.
Davitashvili said that Swiss-Luxembourger and Chinese-Singaporean companies had moved to the second stage of selection process of a private partner for the project.
The Minister added the companies that had proceeded would present their proposals “in the “next few months” and following the “competitiveness and quality” of these proposals the Ministry would decide which of them would be the final private partner.
Davitashvili also said the preliminary estimate for the construction of the port had been updated and the budget for the first phase was $589 million, adding that ₾20 million ($7.44mln) had already been included in the 2023 state budget.