APM Terminals seeks a huge dredging project in Poti Sea Port

The Poti Sea Port is set to be expanded. Credit: Poti Sea Port

APM Terminals has filed an application to build a deep-water terminal at Poti Sea Port in Georgia, the company said in a statement on 13 February 2020.

The first stage includes the building of a 1,700 m breakwater and a 400 m multipurpose quay with a depth of 13.5 m, which will enable the seaport to handle dry bulk cargo and an incremental 150,000 teu, the company said. This berth will be able accommodate container vessels of up to 9,000 teu.

The investment cost of the first stage is estimated at USD250 million and it is slated to be completed by the second quarter of 2022.

The second stage will include construction of a 300 m container quay equipped with three state-of-the-art ship-to-shore cranes. It would double the seaport’s annual container capacity to more than 1 million teu, APM Terminals said in its application. The implementation of the second stage would involve some “substantial investments”, the company said.

The aim of the project is to establish infrastructure that would accommodate Panamax-class merchant vessels, and the company estimated the new deep-water terminal will boost the seaport’s transshipment capacity by 9 million tonnes of bulk cargoes and 500,000 teu per year.

This is the second attempt by APM Terminals to build a deep-water terminal at Poti Sea Port. The company filed a similar application to the Georgian government on 2 May 2019; however, the construction permit for that application was cancelled shortly after it had been issued.

The Georgian government was forced to refuse the project due to pressure from the Anaklia Development Consortium, which was running the dredging works on the Anaklia seaport project. In a statement posted at that time, the consortium said that the information about expanding Poti was “shocking”.

It is believed that APM Terminals opted to give the project another try, because earlier in 2020, the Georgian government terminated the contract with the Anaklia Development Consortium over the construction of the Anaklia seaport.

There is clear competition between the two ports’ projects, and the planned expansion of Poti Sea Port would scare away any serious investors from the Anaklia port for a long time, commented Paata Tsagareishvili, director of the Georgian Transport Corridor Research Centre.