Georgian ports need to improve their services and logistical connectivity to maintain the country’s position as a key transit corridor for the Caucasus, Jacob Gulmann, ICTSI Europe, Middle East and Africa Business Development Director, said during his presentation at the 6th Black Sea Ports Conference and Exhibit held last May 18 to 19 at the Sheraton Batumi Hotel in Adjara, Georgia.
The annual transport event was co-hosted by Batumi International Container Terminal (BICT) and the Batumi Sea Port Ltd. (BSPL).
Gulman said Georgia’s role as a logistics corridor to the Caucasus and Central Asia region is facing a growing threat from the ports in Iran and West Asia.
“The emergence of Iran and other West Asian ports prompted BICT to take action and expand for us to be able to compete and be at par with the best ports in the world. We fully support the Georgian government’s initiatives to ensure that the country’s ports remain globally competitive,” said Gulmann.
Since 2014, Georgian ports have experienced a decline in container throughput due to economic weakness and the re-emergence of Iran.
To rebuild volume, Georgian ports would have to improve their services and connectivity to the hinterland.
BICT’s current annual capacity sits at 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Its 284-meter long container berth is equipped with two mobile harbor cranes averaging 35 moves per hour.
The terminal has a 14-hectare yard area, 625 square meters of which houses the customs warehouse.
For the expansion, BICT looks to increase its annual capacity to 200,000 TEUs; add another 100 metric-ton capacity mobile harbor crane; double the number of reach stackers to eight; increase its empty handlers to four; and deepen its controlling depth to 12 meters.
In addition, more than 800 kilometers of road network and rail construction projects, estimated at around $3.5 billion, are currently in place in Georgia.
“With these road construction projects and terminal equipment acquisitions, we feel it can help us serve our clients better and be able to grow and expand our business in Georgia,” Gulmann said.