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“Anaklia-Port” – The Century Project

12 11 2012 11:14:01
“Anaklia-Port” – The Century Project

A phone call with a emergency sonorousness

It was autumn of 2009 year. The phone rang in London office of the businessman Temur Karchava. “We are calling from the administration of the President of Georgia, - a voice said at the other end of the cable, - Mr. President wants to meet with Temur Karchava and discuss with him issues related to construction of the port in Anaklia”. 

Soon after, a meeting between Mikheil Saakashvili and Temur Karchava was held in Anaklia. A businessman with Georgian origin, living in the capital of the Great Britain told Georgian President about him having the idea about construction of the port in Anaklia since he was a student, but it was impossible to make this dream true during the Soviet period, as this place was occupied by marine forces of the Soviet Union. Temur Karchava began to study the issue of construction of Anaklia port seriously in mid 90-ies of the previous century.

“The Caucasus have been serving as a bridge between the East and the West since ancient times, - Temur Karchava says. - The Great Silk Road, which passed through the Caucasus, was connecting Europe with India and China. Since the end of the past century, the Caucasus has been considered as one of alternative routs connecting Europe with Asia. Oil pipelines Baku-Tbiisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa, a gas pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum have been put into operation during the last 15 years; oil and oil processing sea terminals have been constructed in Kulevi,  construction of  Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki- Karsi railway is ongoing”. 

Today all active ports and sea terminals in Batumi, Poti, Kulevi and Supsa, in case of reconstruction, rehabilitation and modernization, will be able to receive, store and transport  45-51 million tons of dry cargo annually. Temur Karchava told Georgian President that a new port in Anaklia, which will be designed by him and occupy more than 3000 hectares will be able to process 60-70 million tones of cargo annually, and even 180-200 million tons in the perspective, i.e. more than Batumi, Poti, Kulevi and Supsa ports all together.

The decision of the President of Georgia: it is necessary to have a port in Anaklia, “but why did you select Anaklia, when it would be better and cheaper to widen the existing ports?”- the President expressed his interest. Temur Karchava replied that the territory allocated for construction of the Anaklia Port is unpopulated and poorly assimilated. The second, the location of the port does not require construction of expensive buildings for sea protection;  the third, and the most important, one of the biggest sub-marine canyon passes through Anaklia;  The depth of the port here is 20,5 meters (while it is 14 meters in Batumi, 8,5 meters in Poti). Thus, ships with deadweight of 50-150 thousand tons can enter this port. The project provides for construction of 32 docks with total length of 12 300 meters.   

Negotiations between Mikheil Saakashvili and Temur Krchava had been held during two days, experts were also involved in the discussion. Finally, Decree no.723, dated October 20, 2009 and Decree no.45, dated January 20, 2010 were issued by the President of Georgia. This was followed by allocation by the Ministry of Economy of 2100 hectares of land spot for construction of the port, for which “Anakli-Port Ltd.” paid six million seven hundred thousand Georgian Laris. Preliminary works were conducted, the newly established limited company obtained all necessary licenses. Only the cost of design works made up to 220 million US dollars.  

In September of 2010 year, “Anakli–Port Ltd.” started works in accordance with the construction rules and standards. In particular, assimilation of the construction site was launched by creating geodetic network, which is necessary for transferring the project into a real environment. Around 300 people worked on the site.

The President of Georgia was so excited about start of “The Century Project”, as if he was a kid. In particular, on September 03, 2010, Mikheil Saakashvili stated during his meeting with the Parliamentary majority: “We have started construction of Anaklia Port. Everyone has been talking about this project for many years, but no one dared to start it.  As you know, we have taken  supportive measures. As I was told, a private investor started construction, he paid several million dollars for the land. You know that Anaklia has the best equatorial on the Black Sea in terms of the depth. This is really a golden place for construction of the port. Greek and Turkish were right when they built fortresses here. This is the best place for construction of the port”.

A storm on a clear sky

In words of Temur Karchava, the founder of “Anakli–Port Ltd.”, construction works were conducted on schedule, as it was defined by the agreement made with the Ministry of Economy of Georgia. Everything was going smooth, but a storm appeared on a clear sky after statement made by Mikheil Saakashvili regarding construction of the city of Lazika and Lazika Port in Anaklia.  Construction equipment appeared on the territory belonging to “Anakli –Port Ltd”. Construction of a building with a peak started in the equatorial of the port. People involved in the project hardly managed to find out that this was going to be a House of Justice for future citizens of Lazika. Construction of this building started right at the place which was allocated for ships with big deadweight. Investors stopped construction of “Anaklia–Port” up until getting clarifications with regard to ongoing processes.  

No clarifications were received, questions regarding “Anakli-Port” remained without answer, while in summer of the current year the Ministry of Economy of Georgia cancelled agreement made with “Anakli-Port Ltd.” Without any notice, the Ministry confiscated the land plot and even sued the company, requesting payment of penalties in the amount of 100 million US Dollars, since “Anakli-Port” did not meet the construction time-schedule requirements. 

“We are fined by people, - Temur Karchava says, - who, directly invaded our territory with the construction equipment, causing huge loss: blocked several billion dollar investment, possibility to create 15000 jobs. In short, actions of the authorities can be compared only with the theatre of absurd”.

Lazika and “Lazika-Port” – a woman’s dream to be a dream woman

Kakha Kaladze, the former famous football player and presently the Minister of Energy assumes that Mikheil Saakashvili wanted to cover a topic related to Abkhazia by constructing a half-a billion dollar city with sky-scrapers close to Abkhazian border. According to this idea, a huge sunny city-resort would trouble Abkhazians. Akhra Smirma, Abkhaz journalist really expressed his concern: “If Georgians will construct their flourishing city, a poor, sparsely populated Abkhazia will found itself between two city agglomerations… Lazika, on the one side, and Sochi, on the other side… We will be simply torn up – tourist will not arrive in a poor, neglected country, in which one can not receive a normal service”.

Temur Karchava assumes that the idea of “Lazika-Port” could have been delivered to the Georgian President by Zurab Adeishvili, a former Minister of Justice. None of the big projects had been implemented in Georgia without his consent, or such person could be Prime-Minister Nika Gilauri or Zaza Gorozia, the governor of Samegreli-Zemo Svaneti.  These three people could convince Mikheil Saakashvili that it is better to spend budgetary funds on construction of “Lazika-Port” instead of allowing making private investments. So, millions of dollars were spent from the treasury for construction of the city of dream. In accordance with Edward Severus, a dream about Lazika and “Lazika-Port” became a dream of a woman who dreams to be a dream-woman”.

No one can hide from truth!

Unfortunately, many forceful measures were taken against “Anaklia-Port”, although its team did not stop and continued to work in hope that sooner or later the truth will win. “Anakli-Port” made an agreement with Korean company Giltz Financial Holdings AG regarding attraction of 5,5 billion dollar investment. The company Samsung expressed its readiness to invest 700 million dollars in construction of the port.  Ex-Im Bank – the state agency of the United States is ready to allocate a credit in the amount of 2 billion dollars for purchase of the port equipment in America.  DP World FZE agrees to become a port operator. In accordance with the volume of freight turnover, it is the third biggest port terminal operators in the world, following Hutchinson Whampoa (Hong-Kon­g) and PSA (Sin­ga­pore). DP World manages over 60 ports on six continents.  In accordance with the assessment of the British company Ernst ­& Young, one of the four biggest audit companies of the world, the current assets of “Anaklia-Port Ltd” equal to 2 billion dollars.

“Anaklia port will become a unique port, - Temur Karchava says. – It will make it possible to transport cargo, bulk cargo (ore, fossil, etc), metals and metal products, grain, food,  agriculture products, chemical cargo, wine and mineral water, cotton, oil, oil products and gas. At the same time, an international airport with four cargo and two passenger terminals will be constructed on the right side of river Khobistskali. Four-lane road and two-rail railway will be put up to the territory of cargo-transport knot; a cargo processing station and wagon technical maintenance centre will be constructed. A new settlement will be established, in which shopping malls, cafes, sport halls and rest areas, hospitals, schools and kindergartens will be located…”

“I have no other aim in my life, -  Temur Karchave said, - except for seeing happy faced of my compatriots, who will have a stable future: jobs, means to have vacations, weddings, to educate their children”.

Rotterdam, Singapore, Shanghai and Anaklia…

...Today a court hearing is ongoing at Zugdidi city court, to which Anaklia belongs. Hearing concerns the Ministry of Economy and “Anaklia-Port Ltd”. The construction company of the port hopes that fines established for “Anakli-Port Ltd.” will be abolished and 2100 hectares of land plot will be returned to its real owner – “Anakli-Port Ltd”. This will enable them to continue “The Century Project” – construction of the port in Anaklia, which can compete with the biggest ports of the world, such as Rotterdam, Singapore, Shanghai ports.

“We are happy and filled with hope following the statement made by George Kvirikashvili, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development last Saturday, - Temur Karchava stated. Mr. Minister said that priority of the economic policy of the authorities will be inviolability of business and creating maximally comfortable conditions for its development.”


Besik Pipia, 

Member of the International Association of Journalists


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