Romanian group Grampet – Grup Feroviar Român (GFR), GR Logistics & Terminals LLC (Georgia) and ASCO Logistic CJSC (Azerbaijan) signed in Tbilisi an agreement establishing a Consortium that will operate regular shipping between the ports of Constanța and Batumi/ Poti in Georgia, APA's Georgian bureau reports.
The agreement represents another step by which the member companies of the Middle Corridor Association – the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route collaborate to intensify the flow of goods along this route.
In June, Grampet and NMSC Kazmortransflot LLP, the national sea carrier of Kazakhstan, signed a Memorandum of Partnership as part of the same project.
“One year after joining the Middle Corridor Association, we manage to activate the Batumi/ Poti – Constanța shipping route, which has a very important role for the freight transit from Asia to Europe – it is basically the last piece missing from the Middle Corridor chain,” Gruia Stoica, president of Grampet Group, said.
“At the same time, the Tbilisi agreement brings us closer to our stated goal of launching the first rail freight transports between China and Western Europe that will transit Romania,” he added.
The lack of a direct naval connection between the Georgian ports and Constanta has so far been a major obstacle in attracting transports for Europe on this route.
“Alternative routes, which go through Istanbul or Piraeus, are non-competitive, because they have a transit time of 12 to 24 days. Once a permanent and regular connection between the ports of Georgia and Romania is launched, we can reduce this transit time by 5 days forth / 5 days back, so that the transit time between the Georgian ports and Constanta is reduced to 2 days,” points out Sorin Chinde, Vice President of the Grampet’s Transport Division.
Under the agreement, the consortium will operate a ship with a capacity of 144 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) or 72 FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit), which will carry shipments 3 times a month.
The management team of the Consortium will be formed by Gruia Stoica (Grampet), Lasha Akhalbedashvili, director of GR Logistics & Terminals LLC, and Azer Mammedov, general manager of ASCO Logistic CJSC.
GR Logistics & Terminals, a subsidiary of JSC Georgian Railway founded in 2009, provides international freight services by rail and sea – container and wagon transport, maneuvering services, customs services, storage, etc. The company operates two container terminals in Poti and Tbilisi ports.
ASCO Logistic CJSC (the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company) was established by merging the country’s two largest fleets – the Azerbaijan State Caspian Sea Shipping Company and the Caspian Sea Oil Fleet of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic. The company provides offshore support, and also operates merchant fleets and two shipyards.
Grampet Group – Grup Feroviar Roman is the largest private rail freight and logistics operator in Romania and Central and South Eastern Europe, and the first European company to have joined the Middle Corridor – Trans Caspian International Transport Route, last September.
The partners intend to develop the Middle Corridor route, which is an important link between East Asia and Western Europe through the Caspian Sea, the Republic of Azerbaijan and Georgia, and to provide faster freight services using an alternative means of transport over the Black Sea.