Georgia should become a transport and logistics hub, connecting Europe and Asia, and the government is working on various projects in this area – the country’s Economy Minister states.
According to him, one of the main projects envisages an increase of Georgia’s transit function in the framework of the New Great Silk Road. “The important work has already been carried out in the frames of the project, in particular, it will allow the first freight train from China to reach Europe for 9 days. Georgia’s potential makes it possible to provide a quick and cheap transportation from Asia to Europe through the Black Sea ports and the Bosporus. Other routes can be also used – in particular, through Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine, “- says the Minister.
In his words, a fund with an initial capital of $ 40 billion has already been established to implement the New Silk Road project. “At the same time, Georgia has signed a Memorandum with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, which will radically change the growth potential of trade and investment,” – George Kvirikashvili notes. According to him, the potential of this route is evidenced by a study that showed that the shortest route from Kabul to Europe goes right through Georgia.
In all components, Kabul – Poti route proved to be more profitable. In this area, many different projects are carried out and their unity creates the potential network part of which Georgia will be now or in the future,” – the Minister of Economy beleives. The head of the economic department focuses on four major projects – Anaklia deep-water port, Baku-Kars railway route, construction of a new runway at Tbilisi airport and railway modernization. In his words, just these projects are the most important, as they determine the capacity of the corridor.
“The tender for expression of interest for the construction of the Anaklia port has already been announced and most likely by the end of the summer the company, which will be engaged in the port construction, will be revealed. The new port will have a number of advantages – a strategic location, the ability to accommodate larger ships, an acceptable rate for service, high throughput, the ability of logistics services, and the potential for the creation of an industrial cluster. As for the Baku-Kars railway, it will increase the capacity by 5 million tons. Currently more than 60% of the work on the territory of Georgia has been completed, “- George Kvirikashvili says.
He adds that the cost of the Georgian railway modernization project reaches 260 million Swiss francs. “To date, several tunnels with a total length of 4.4 km have been built. Upon completion, the capacity of the main sections of the railway will increase from 27 million to 65 million tons. Moreover, in the future it will be possible to increase it to 100 million tons. The project will be completed in 2019, “- Minister of Economy says. He mentions the World Bank’s assistance in terms of transport and logistics infrastructure; in particular, the WB experts will help Georgia determine the location of at least 3 logistics centers.
Infrastructure of bus stations is also planned to be updated, which, according to the Minister, is very far from any civilized standards. “A bill providing for a gradual entry of regulations into force obliging transport companies to achieve certain standards will be developed. In addition, adherence to international regulation will give vehicles new possibilities – in particular, the Georgian pin-codes will be recognized by the world. This will allow to create auto parts manufacturing enterprises in the country, respectively, will provide an incentive to investors, “- the Minister concludes.