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Somaliland eye Ethiopia market with Berbera Port

Leading multinational logistics company DP World is determined to transform Somaliland Port city of Berbera into a major maritime, industrial, and logistics hub in the Horn of Africa, especially for Ethiopian transit cargo.

DP World in partnership with the government of Somaliland recently opened a new container terminal at Berbera Port, with work underway to further expand the terminal’s capacity.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Chief Executive Officer of DP World says a boost to trade competitiveness is a central focus of Berbera and the region as a whole.

The DP World CEO says infrastructure is critical to the economic recovery of Somaliland and the Horn of Africa in the post-COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first phase of Berbera port’s expansion began in October 2018, when President (Musa) Abdi and I broke ground to start construction. Just two and half years on, we have a modern, world-class infrastructure asset that helps improve operational efficiency and productivity to meet growing demand. The new terminal, with a deep draft quay of 400 metres and three gantry cranes, is capable of handling the largest container vessels in operation today and increases the port’s capacity from the current 150,000 TEUs to 500,000 TEUs a year,” he said.

He added: “We are building a Berbera fit to handle the demands of today’s trade economy, whilst helping expedite its progress towards a self-reliant society. For example, edible oil was previously brought in pre-packaged containers, but now DP World is building a state-of-the-art facility that can store goods in bulk, and allow companies to package them locally.”

Bin Sulayem said that to maximise the economic potential of Berbera’s strategic location and the benefits that will follow from the port’s ability to handle increased levels of trade, DP World is also rapidly developing the Berbera Economic Zone (BEZ).

“Modelled on Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), our flagship Free Zone in Dubai, BEZ will provide local and foreign investors with a conducive and competitive environment for investment and trade through readily available infrastructure including prebuilt warehousing facilities, serviced land plots, and office and business centre spaces.”

He said that the BEZ, combined with the increased power of the Berbera port development, will also support Somaliland’s fast-growing neighbour, Ethiopia, as it seeks to bolster the export competitiveness of its manufacturers.

“Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and its policymakers and business leaders continue to be well poised to maximize results from improved national productivity as it aims to reach lower-middle-income status by 2025.”

The DP World’s Chief Executive observed that the Horn of Africa, with a population of more than 140 million people, is dynamic and ever-evolving and despite the economic shocks of the pandemic, the region has showcased remarkable resilience, managing to grow by 0.88% in 2020.

He said the sharp decline in remittance levels and significantly reduced livestock exports to the gulf resulting from the pandemic are crucial issues the government will need to grapple within the years to come to ensure a robust recovery.