The Poti seaport’s Deputy General Director for Development Andrei Kuzmenko spoke about post-reform development of ports in a speech at the Maritime Days conference in Odesa, using his port as an example.

"Despite the fact that liberalization has begun in Georgia, a really major international investor – APM - has arrived at the Poti seaport, there are cargoes, and there are even good prospects, we are having difficulties developing the enterprise without the participation of the government," said Kuzmenko.

According to him, the cargo flow through the port of Poti is projected at 22 million tons after 7-8 years, compared with the 7 million tons that flows through the port today. However, for development of its capacities, it is necessary to build a new pier at the cost of EUR 60-100 million. However, even if the projected 22 million tons of cargo actually comes, it will not recoup the cost of this project from the viewpoint of the private operator’s business, Kuzmenko said.

"Essentially, without the participation of the government, which, for example, could agree to a 20-year payback period for a project rather than 10 years, it will be extremely difficult to develop the Poti seaport under the current economy, and it is difficult to blame anyone for this. Therefore, it is extremely important for Ukraine to look one step ahead and understand what will happen next when the current funding system is broken, a new one goes into effect, and it turns out to be good for a short period, but it could lead to serious issues … in the medium-term and the long-term..." he said.

"At the Poti seaport, APM is totally not against construction of berths and supply of equipment, but 15 million cubic meters of dredging or construction of a pier with a length of 1 kilometer is too much even for such a major port operator,” Kuzmenko concluded.

Video of Andrei Kuzmenko’s speech