“From Shanghai to Rotterdam Through Georgia Rather than Russia” - TBC Bank President on Anaklia Port and the New Silk Road
30 May, 2015
“From Shanghai to Rotterdam Through Georgia Rather than Russia” - TBC Bank President on Anaklia Port and the New Silk Road
Soon the Georgian government will declare the company which, as a result of the tender, will carry out the Anaklia Port project. The list of contenders includes Anaklia Development Consortium, which is a union of TBC Holding and Konti Group. Mamuka Khazaradze, founder of the consortium, is holding one meeting after another with potential foreign partners for construction of the port. His interview with Georgian Journal took place on May 22, soon after his return from China.

“What we are
talking about here is the creation of an industrial zone near the Anaklia Port, with not only the Chinese, but many other foreign companies represented, including those from non-EU countries.”

– TBC Group participates in the tender for construction of the Anaklia Port. Just hours ago, you were in China. What meetings did you hold there?

– I met with representatives of two multinational companies, which are second and third largest in their fields worldwide. We also met with the Chinese geotv.geRailways Administration representatives as well as those of COSCO Pacific Limited, which is included in the world’s top three when it comes to transportation. In addition, we also held meetings with representatives of the China Development Bank, which has investment reserves worth 300 billion USD. The Chinese government has a strategy that envisions restoration of the historical Silk Road. Construction of the Anaklia Port fits into this strategy, allowing the flow of cargo to pass from Shanghai to Rotterdam through Georgia rather than Russia or any other path.
Another significant meeting we had was with the managers of one of the China’s largest free trade and industrial zones, and they also became interested in our project. What we are talking about here is the creation of an industrial zone near Anaklia Port, with not only Chinese, but many other foreign companies represented, including those from non-EU countries. Being a transit country and an industrial country are two very different things, and we aim to become an industrial country with a significant transit function. We enjoy significant financial support from the leading U.S. financial agencies and banks such as OPIC and U.S. Ex-Im Bank, along with many European financial institutions. Our investing partners are Goldman Sachs and Berkley, which provide a significant share of the financial contributions.
The Chinese side will be one of the components in this massive consortium. If the project becomes reality, it will significantly influence our national currency, not to mention regional development and employment.

“The Anaklia Port project will take 10 years to complete and its cost will range from two to 2.5 billion dollars.”

– How much do you and your partners plan to put into the Anaklia Development Project and how many years will it take?

– The project’s scale is so massive that no single entity has the capacity to finance it alone. Funds will be attracted through the consortium. Cost of the first stage of the project, which encompasses construction of the free trade area and the industrial zone, is approximately 800 million dollars. In total, the Anaklia Port project will take 10 years to complete and its cost will range from two to 2.5 billion dollars. If circumstances are favorable and if our plans are carried out as intended, goods produced in Georgia will successfully make it to the European market and the scale of both investments and the project itself will increase. Many players in the market will become interested in it; I would not even rule out it finding a spot for itself at the stock exchange. The port is to become one of the largest hubs in the entire region, uniting financial, logistical and industrial power under one roof, so to say.

– Since our Ministry of Economy expressed interest in the Anaklia Port project, 12 companies expressed their desire to participate. Out of these, only seven were shortlisted, and now there are only two left: yours and a Georgian-Chinese union, Anaklia Port and Industrial Eco Park. What advantages do you have over your competitor?

– Our advantage lies in one very important thing: diversification of investors. If carried out by us, the project will feature not only Georgian and Chinese companies, but also a whole multitude of international businesses, including those from Europe and the U.S. Another trump card that we have is written agreements with the large, reputable banks that I mentioned before – they have agreed to cooperate with our consortium. We have a good chance of winning, and if we do, I will share our plans in greater detail.

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