Following the completion of the first phase of a port expansion project in line with a development plan for the Horn of Africa region, DP World and Somaliland have inaugurated a new container terminal at Berbera Port.
The container terminal has a deep draft of 17m, a 400m quay and three ship to shore (STS) gantry cranes and can handle the largest container vessels in operation today. The upgrades increase the port’s container capacity from the current 150,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) to 500,000 TEUs annually. The terminal also includes a modern container yard with eight rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs). A new port ‘One Stop Service Centre’ is also currently being built and will be ready in quarter three this year, the statement explained.
The terminal was opened by Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi and DP World group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at a special event attended by over 200 guests, including a government delegation from Ethiopia, led by Ahmed Shide, minister of Finance and Dagmawit Moges, minister of Transport. The event also included a symbolic ground-breaking for the new Berbera Economic Zone, the first phase of which is under construction, said the statement.
Bihi Abdi commented, “This is a proud and historic moment for Somaliland and its people, as the completion of the first phase has made our vision of establishing Berbera with its strategic location into 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, attracting foreign direct investment and creating jobs.
DP World is said to have committed to investing up to $442m to develop and expand Berbera Port, and with the first phase now complete, Bin Sulayem announced work is already underway to further expand the port in a second phase. This includes extending the new quay from 400 to 1,000m and installing a further seven STS gantry cranes, increasing the total from three to 10, enabling the port to handle up to two million TEUs a year, and multiple large container vessels at the same time.
Part of the overall Berbera plan and modelled on DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, the economic zone is linked to the port and strategically located along the Berbera to Wajaale road (Berbera Corridor), the statement pointed out.
The economic zone will serve as a centre of trade with the aim to attract investment and create jobs, and will target a range of industries, including warehousing, logistics, traders, manufacturers, and other related sectors. It will allow producers, suppliers, and customers to operate in a conducive and competitive environment for investment and trade, the statement from DP World said.
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.
Bin Sulayem added, “Our further expansion of the port in a second phase, and its integration with the special economic zone we are developing along the Berbera Corridor, reflects our confidence in Berbera and intent to develop it into a significant, world-class centre of trade. It will be a viable, efficient and competitive option for trade in the region, especially for Ethiopian transit cargo.”
Last month DP World signed a MoU with the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport for developing 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.
The statement concluded by noting that DP World Berbera, which began operations at the port in March 2017, has since increased volumes by 35% and vessel productivity by 300%, and reduced container vessel waiting time from four to five days, to only a few hours.