SOMALILAND – Close to 270 million US dollars is set to be injected in the expansion project of Berbera port in Somaliland, its officials said, as they hope to turn Berbera Corridor into a bustling trade port in east Africa.
The United Arab Emirates’ state-owned acquired the 51 percent of the port with a landmark deal worth $442 million to develop and manage the strategically-located Berbera Port.
Somaliland government owning 30 percent while Ethiopia’s state-owned Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESL) procured a 19% stake to avoid overdependence on Djibouti ports since it’s a landlocked country.
Somaliland authorities said they will deliver an additional 269 million US dollar investment and expand 400 meters.
The ongoing development of DP World’s plans 650 expansion. General Manager of the port, Seid Hassan, said the additional investment aims at elevating both the quality and standard at the international ports level.
Since last year, the country managed to increase the port’s loading and unloading capacity of containers from 5000 per month to 16,000 containers.
“We are striving to build competent corridors with other regional corridors,” the manager said while speaking to Ethiopian journalists on Wednesday, at the port of Berbera.
The manager said the latest investment could catalyze the trade relation with Ethiopia through the Berbera corridor if the two nations managed to enter into a trade agreement.
In the absence of the agreement with Ethiopia, the use of the port has mainly been restricted to just humanitarian freights, he added.
This is, the manager said, due to “Ethiopian businesses are not aware of the Berbera corridor”.
The government of Somaliland, an autonomous but unrecognized breakaway region in the north of Somalia, plans to send a big business delegation to Addis Ababa and familiarise Ethiopian businesses with the opportunities.
“We have a very good heart, good service, and good relationship with our neighboring country,” the port manager said. “So we need Ethiopian business to come and see what we are offering to them.”
By Sisay Sahlu