Friday, July 20, 2007, #137 (1404)

Poti Port Up For Lease
By M. Alkhazashvili

The Ministry of Economic Development has asked international companies to file applications of interest for a 49-year lease of Poti Port. The concession winner will be obligated to create a 400 hectare free economic zone to the north of the port.

The investor, according to the conditions of the tender, must create the infrastructure for the zone, elaborate procedures and manage the zone for the next 49 years.

The investor must also wrangle more foreign investments to invigorate the port’s turnover.

The deadline for applications is September 14. The applications must include a registration document and financial documents for the last three years vetted by an audit company, according to the news agency Regnum. Companies must also submit a list of shareholders holding more than five percent of the business—a key point of interest for those worried about leasing out a national asset.

Poti Port is one of the largest on the Black Sea and in the whole of the Caucasus. It operates ferry services with Ukraine, Bulgaria and (at times) Russia.

Goods turnover in 2006 reached 7 million tons, 9.1 percent higher than the year before. Another surge of 12 percent is expected in 2007.

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