Interview with the Director General of Poti Port

Interview with the Director General of Poti Port

In the first quarter 2017, volume of cargo, received by the seaports and terminals of Georgia slightly increased, however, it is still less than it used to be before 2014. Klaus Holm Laursen, director general of Poti Port, speaks about reduction of cargo turnover and economic situation in Georgia and the region.

– What are APM’s plans regarding Georgia and what do you think about the current economic trends?

– APM Terminal has been operating in Georgia for 5 years now. We really hope that the economy in Georgia will keep on growing, but the indicators decrease. This trend has been there for quite a while. The main reason for that is the fluctuation of oil prices. Moreover, the economy of Georgia is affected by political and economic situation beyond its limits. Presently, our plans are mainly concerned with strengthening of security.

– Are there any improvements with regard to cargo turnover?

– Cargo turnover is definitely decreasing. In the first quarter, our rates improved. In 2016, we received 63 000 vehicles, which is quite a good number, however, it is still far less than we had before 2014. So, there still are challenges in the economy.

We are capable of receiving much more cargo, than we are receiving now. I think the situation is similar in other seaports of the region. We are observing economic development in Georgia and we accordingly develop new capacities in the country. We depend upon stability of oil prices. We are also observing the economy in Azerbaijan and Armenia.

– What are the new capacities and how do you see further development of the Silk Road?

– There are a lot of recourses along the Caspian Sea. A lot of people live there and they have access to these recourses. These are not only existing opportunities, but also those, created by competition. Now we are talking about what railroad can do and how it should become profitable. You should be as effective as possible in all the operations and your prices should be competitive. One thing is the capacities in Georgia; however, you are connected to other countries, who are links of this common chain. It will take quite some time for all the parties involved to start working in a coordinated and organized manner.

– How will competitiveness be affected if new seaports are opened in Georgia? You mentioned that Poti Port is capable of receiving more cargo, than it is receiving now – do you think it is possible that more cargo arrives in Georgia?

– If Georgia wants to be a transit country, it should keep in mind that this is a competition. Transport business is a global international business; and this global business always finds best routs for transportation.

– What would you say about the current investment environment?

– In transport business, there are many investment parties. It is difficult for the government to protect everybody’s interests. The government of Georgia is ready for the dialogue. This is a challenge, which makes us, investors, happy; however, this may not be true for all investors. The fact that the rates are not increasing, means that they are decreasing. There is no golden mean – this the rule of economics. The circumstances change and you should be able to adapt. 

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