The PACE Terminal is situated in the so-called New Sea Port of Poti. The project consists of two phases. The total investment cost of the first phase is $93 million, of which $50 million is provided by the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The latter sum constitutes the largest investment carried out by the DFC in any single project in Georgia. The first tranche worth $30.8 million was transferred in early May 2020.
The new terminal will cover a 25 ha area, with the total length of the harbour wall being 650 metres. The terminal will have a total capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of dry bulk cargo and 100,000 TEU (containers). The water depth in the harbour will be increased to 12 metres, as a result of which the sea port will be able to handle vessels with a draught of 11.5 metres and a load capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes. Construction of a new breakwater to the north of the sea port would increase the water depth to 15 metres, allowing the port to handle vessels with a draught of 14.5 metres.
It is worth noting that the PACE Terminal is already partially operational. In 2015-2017, it helped to enable the implementation of BP’s Shah Deniz 2 pipeline project – one of the most significant projects in the region.
At present, the terminal is already receiving and processing various cargoes and shipping containers. These include urea – a mineral fertilizer from Central Asia, the transportation corridor for which was rerouted from Russia and Iran to Georgia in 2017 as a result of the PACE Group’s negotiations with the government of Turkmenistan and the Azerbaijani ports of Hovsan and Alyat. The PACE Terminal is the only location in Georgia that has the infrastructure to handle and process mineral fertilizers from Central Asia. The aforementioned investment will lead to further modernisation of the infrastructure and technologies, allowing the PACE Terminal to handle all fertilizers manufactured in Central Asia. More specifically, the terminal will be able to handle up to 1.5 million tonnes of fertilizers annually, up from the current capacity of 500,000 tonnes.
The terminal will also service various dry bulk cargoes and shipping containers. A new infrastructure with the modern technologies will be established, which will allow significantly more transit cargo to be directed and rerouted to our transportation corridor.
Construction of the 250 m long protective breakwater, as well as warehouses and infrastructure for mineral fertilizers with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes, has already started. The overall completion of the terminal is planned for spring 2021, at that time the terminal will handle its first vessels.
Construction works are carried out by two Georgian companies in partnership with foreign firms. A total of 115 people are employed at the construction site.
The PACE Terminal project is being implemented by the PACE Group, which is the largest transportation company in the Caucasus region, uniting numerous port operators, brokerage firms, maritime agencies, logistics companies and container manufacturers. The group has over 1000 employees. Its average annual freight turnover exceeds 3 million tonnes. Completion of the PACE Terminal will create 180 additional jobs.
The PACE Group’s main goal for the future is to use maritime and transportation infrastructure with enhanced modern technologies to retain the existing cargoes and attract new ones.
Against the background of the global pandemic, the company has been able to continue its operations with authorisation from the Georgian government and strict adherence to the health requirements. As a result, the companies that form part of the group have been able to retain all jobs.