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OPIC Announces Investment in Poti

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The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has issued a loan of USD 50 million to Pace Group to develop a multi-functional marine terminal in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Poti, aimed to expand its operational capacities.

OPIC’s Managing Director, Kenneth Angell, said on February 4, that “this ambitious port project is another sign of strong partnership that OPIC has long shared with Georgia,” and that the OPIC investment in Pace terminal “demonstrates the continued support and commitment of the U.S. government towards Georgia’s development.”

“This project will enable the Pace Group to expand and upgrade its existing group operations by developing, constructing, and operating multi-functional marine terminal in Poti at Pace terminal,” Angell stated.

He also underscored that following the breakup of the Soviet Union the Poti Port “played an instrumental role in trade shipment of humanitarian aid from U.S. to Georgia and neighboring countries in central Asia.” “Georgia is rapidly moving to the more prosperous and secure future and better connectivity with the rest of the world will be critical,” he noted.

Pace Group Executive Director Ioseb Dolidze said the financing package that OPIC has issued for “a separate project” is “unprecedented” for Georgia and entire Caucasus region. According to Pace Group, the total value of the project is USD 120 million, while the first phase of investment equals USD 93 million, out of which OPIC has picked up the bill for USD 50 million.

Pace terminal will reportedly cover the field of 25 hectares, and the port would be deepened to 12 meters, thus allowing the docking of vessels of up to 50 thousand tonnes. Once the terminal comes online, the port of Poti is projected be able to process additional 2.5 million tonnes freight annually. The project is estimated to be completed in 18 months.

“Pace Group” is reported to have been operating in the region for 27 years, and claims to have pioneered the transportation of mineral fertilizers from Turkmenistan from 2016, as well as putting in operation a grain terminal in Poti. In 2015-2017 the company was transporting the pipes for the British Petroleum group in framework of Shah-Deniz 2 natural gas pipeline.

High level support

Addressing the audience at today’s presentation, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze expressed hope this project would bring “huge opportunities” not only to the country’s economy, but the regions’ as well. “Construction of a new, robust marine infrastructure is yet another step forward to turning our country into a transport corridor connecting Europe and Asia,” Bakhtadze said.

Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy Ross Wilson also commented on the issue, saying that the new project “will be extremely important in bolstering the Georgian economy, providing new access to international markets for Georgian producers and new connections through Georgia to the Caucasus and Central Asia.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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