The government of Somaliland and DP World, a leading provider of integrated logistics solutions, have inaugurated a new container terminal at Berbera Port.
This follows completion of the first phase of the port’s expansion in a bid to make it a major regional trade hub in the Horn of Africa region.
The new terminal was opened by Somaliland President Muse Bihi and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World on Thursday.
The event was attended by over 200 guests, including a government delegation from Ethiopia, led by Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and his Transport counterpart Dagmawit Moges.
The launch also included a ground-breaking for the new Berbera Economic Zone whose first phase is under construction.
The new container terminal with a deep draft of 17m, a quay of 400m can handle the largest container vessels. The terminal will increase the port’s container capacity from current 150,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) to 500,000 TEUs annually.
The terminal has a modern container yard with eight rubber tyred gantry cranes. A new port One Stop Service Centre is also currently being built and is expected to be completed later this year.
DP World plans to invest US$442 million to develop and expand Berbera Port. With the first phase complete, Mr bin Sulayem announced that the construction of the second phase is underway.
This includes the extension of the new quay from 400 to 1,000 metres, and installing a further seven STS gantry cranes to enable the port to handle up to two million TEUs a year, and multiple large container vessels.
Part of the Berbera plan which is modelled on DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, is linked to the port and is strategically located along the Berbera to Wajaale road (Berbera Corridor).
The economic zone will serve as a centre of trade with the aim of attracting investment and creating jobs. It will target a range of industries, including warehousing, logistics, traders, manufacturers, and other related sectors.
The Berbera Corridor road upgrade project, funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the Hargeisa Bypass Road funded by UK Aid, is set for completion in quarter four, 2021 and quarter three 2022, respectively.
The road will link to the existing modern highway on the Ethiopian side and position Berbera as a direct, fast, and efficient trade route for Ethiopian transit cargo.
President Bihi said the completion of the first phase has made Somaliland's vision of establishing Berbera as a major trade hub in the region a reality.
“With the new terminal, along with the second phase of expansion and economic zone along the Berbera corridor, we are now firmly positioned to further develop and grow our economy through increased trade,” President Bihi said.
Special economic zone
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO said: “Expansion of the port and its integration with the special economic zone reflects our confidence in Berbera and intent to develop it into a world-class centre of trade.”
DP World Berbera, which began operations at the port in March 2017, has since increased volumes by 35 per cent and vessel productivity by 300 per cent. It has also reduced container vessel waiting time from four to five days to a few hours.
DP World and the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May this year, to develop the Ethiopian side of the road linking Addis Ababa to Berbera, into one of the major trade and logistics corridors of the country’s international trade routes.