PTC Holding Group of Companies is starting construction of a multimodal terminal in the Georgian port of Poti, which will become a reference point for Kazakhstan’s export-import on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TMTM)
The terminal will become a reference point for Kazakhstan’s export-import on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TMTM).
The ceremony of laying a symbolic capsule marking the start of construction of a multimodal terminal, attended by the Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan Marat Karabayev and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development of Georgia Levan Davitashvili, as well as representatives of Kazakh and Georgian businesses, took place on August 11 in Poti. This means that the PTC Holding group of companies has entered the stage of active implementation of the anchor infrastructure construction project on the TMTM route.
“We are completing the dismantling of structures on the territory of the multimodal terminal planned for construction in the port of Poti (Georgia) and are starting construction work,” said Olzhas Arykbayev, Development Director of PTC Holding.
Recall that a private Kazakh operator started implementing the project in June 2023, when documents were signed in Georgia and the creation of a joint venture of Poti transterminal JSC was announced, in which the Kazakh side, represented by PTC Holding, and Georgian partners each own 50% of the shares. At the same time, it was announced that a land plot with a total area of 8 hectares was received in the port of Poti for the construction of a multimodal terminal. The aim of the project is to create the necessary world–class infrastructure on the TMTM route.
“When we talk about large cargo flows and serious shippers, we need to rely on someone and something. In this sense, the work with the port infrastructure should be filigree. It must ensure the acceptance, registration, and dispatch of goods. Therefore, we are looking at the Black Sea ports of Georgia. If we are talking about the maritime part of TMTM, then this is actually the end of TMTM. If the TMTM starts for container trains at Altynkol station, the border crossing between China and Kazakhstan, then it ends in Poti or Batumi. Therefore, it is necessary to be present there,” explained the logic of the company’s decisions and the choice of a place, Chairman of the Board of PTC Holding Timur Karabaev.
According to Daniyar Abulgazin, a shareholder of PTC Holding, the construction of a terminal in Poti is a logical business expansion for the company.
“We in our group of companies are now paying a lot of attention to container transportation. We have already built the largest terminal at Dostyk station. Its capacity is about 320 thousand containers in 20-foot equivalent per year. Last year we handled about 100 thousand containers, this year there will be more. We have opened a subsidiary in Shanghai, we are registering a company in Istanbul. Thank you to our partners from Georgia for accepting our offer of cooperation and entering into a joint project. I think this is a logical continuation of our work to develop the transit potential of Kazakhstan,” Daniyar Abulgazin assessed the project.
The total amount of investments in the project, according to Olzhas Arykbayev, Development Director of PTC Holding, is estimated at $15-20 million. Financing will be carried out on parity principles by Kazakh and Georgian participants of the project. He also said that the active phase of construction will begin in September 2023, and the first phase of the project is scheduled to be commissioned in the 1st quarter of 2024, which will allow processing 80 thousand TEU/year (containers in 20-foot equivalent) with further volume increase. And the maximum capacity of the terminal, taking into account the technology of operation, will be 450 thousand TEU/year.
“Since we will use multimodal technologies, that is, to re-process cargo from a universal fleet, vehicles into containers and vice versa, with the possibility of sending cargo across the Black Sea, our terminal will be able to “digest” up to 5.5 million tons of cargo, or up to 450 thousand TEU,” Olzhas Arykbayev said. According to him, at the first stage, 3 reach stackers, 1 gantry crane, 1 shunting locomotive, forklifts will be purchased. And the terminal itself will be able to provide the following services to customers:
delivery of containers from the port to the terminal and in the opposite direction;
delivery of containers from other terminals and in the opposite direction;
formation of shuttle trains in the Poti – Alat – Poti direction;
reloading of cargo from universal wagons and vehicles into a container and vice versa;
handling of oversized cargo.
The fact that this element of infrastructure on the TMTM route is interesting and will be in demand is indirectly confirmed by the fact that the ceremony of laying the capsule and the start of construction was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development of Georgia Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan Marat Karabayev, and representatives of large Kazakh exporting companies: JSC “Kazzinc”, JSC “Kazazot”, LLP “KazFerroGroup”, JSC “Kostanay minerals”, LLP “Central Asia Mining Co”, LLP “Kaspi Grain Way”; logistics — JSC “NC “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy”, JSC “NMSC “Kazmortransflot”, JSC “Kaskor-Transservice”, LLP “Ersai”, LLP “DAR RAIL”; infrastructure — LLP “Port Kuryk”, LLP “Aktau Sea Northern Terminal” and JSC “NC “Aktau Commercial Sea Port”.
As for potential customers, according to Timur Karabayev, the group of companies sees an increase in consumer demand for services within the Trans-Caspian transport route.
“We already have active developments on it today, and customers are not just interested, but are trying to place applications,” says Timur Karabaev. He notes that the situation around Ukraine has had a particularly serious impact on companies in Southeast Asia, in particular Japan and South Korea, which, due to sanctions, stopped supplying goods through Russia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. “As a result, shippers from Southeast Asia began to look for alternative ways to deliver their goods to Central Asian countries. It is clear that transport and logistics companies reacted quickly to this emerging demand and are trying, including us, to offer some alternatives,” Timur Karabayev notes.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev constantly speaks about the strategic need to diversify transport routes and create appropriate infrastructure as one of the key tasks. “We intend to systematically increase cargo traffic through this route and bring it to 500 thousand containers per year by 2030,” President of Kazakhstan Kassym–Jomart Tokayev announced this goal, speaking at the first Central Asia + Gulf Cooperation Council summit held at the end of July.
A meeting of the general meeting of the International Association “Trans-Caspian International Transport Route” was held in Almaty on February 8, at which a sharp increase in cargo turnover in this direction was recorded. Thus, according to the association, in 2022 the volume of cargo transportation increased 2.5 times and reached 1.5 million tons. At the same time, the export of Kazakhstani goods increased 6.5 times compared to 2021 and amounted to 891 thousand tons. In addition, 33.6 thousand were transported. TUE is 33% higher than in the same period last year. According to the results of 6 months of this year on the TMTM route, according to the data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, cargo turnover increased by another 77% and amounted to 1,320 thousand tons.
In order to increase the potential of TMTM, the association’s participants have developed a roadmap for the simultaneous elimination of bottlenecks and the development of the potential of TMTM for 2022-2027. It is expected that these measures will increase the capacity of the corridor to 10 million tons per year by 2025.
“The TMTM (Middle Corridor) runs from Central Asia through the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and continues either to the port of Poti in Georgia or to Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) line – thus bypassing the territory of Russia. Kazakhstan is actively developing the Middle Corridor in order to secure vital logistics routes in the uncertain prospects of trans-Russian communication.
Several recent changes have increased the competitiveness of this route. For example, some general pricing agreements have been concluded and high-level discussions are underway to create a joint venture for medium-sized businesses based on the model of the United Transport and Logistics Company (UTLC) used in the Northern Corridor,” World Bank experts note in the study “Overview of the Economy of Kazakhstan – Spring 2023”.
In their opinion, “in the short term, the Middle Corridor plays a key role in strengthening trade between Southeastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asia.”