Batumi port enlargement under fire
Sajjad Karim MEP (UK, ECR), the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus, welcomed the development of the Batumi port, underlining Georgia strategic situation on the East-West transportation route.
“The country has the potential to become an important transportation hub, which would in turn boost its economic growth, including in the Adjaria region“, Karim said.
“The impressive economic development of Adjaria is in contrast with the economic stagnation of Georgia’s occupied regions, in particular, Abkhazia, which could have experienced a similar economic development, had it not been invaded and occupied”, MEP continued.
In spite of the overall positive assessment of Batumi boom in the building sector, contributing to the economy, the Chair of the Delegation has expressed his concerns about “many accidents – sometimes deadly” which have happened to construction workers during this period.
“I call on the Georgian authorities to ensure that labour law and safety standards are duly implemented” Sajjad Karim concluded.
The concerns over labor safety are not the only issue, raised by Members of the European Parliament, while evaluating the perspective of the Batumi port enlargement.
The prominent French ecologist, the founder of the independent Commission on Chernobyl disaster Michèle Rivasi MEP (The Greens) considers imperative the launch of an independent research of the impact of the Batumi port enlargement on the environment, and health, but also confirm that the project is profitable.
“It is absolutely necessary that there are consultations with the citizens, and there is an independent research, and upon all these elements the citizens will decide, but it is not up to the gas lobby to decide in the place of the citizens“, – Rivasi explained her vision of the future of the project.
The Batumi port enlargement became a subject to polemics after Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a contract on the construction of a terminal for mineral fertilizers (carbamide) on January 14. The inhabitants of the area, ecologists, and a member of the Georgian March movement Valerian Meburishvili have been protesting against the construction of the terminal, presuming the project is designed to transport dangerous for people and environment toxic substances, potentially damaging human health, and sea life.
Trammo group (USA) formerly known as Transammonia, Inc. intends to invest $20 million in the construction of the terminal. Transammonia is the world’s largest private company in fertilizer trading.