Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Somaliland- Ethiopia gains access to Berbera Port

(joc.com) The government of landlocked Ethiopia secured rights to access and use the Red Sea port of Berbera in Somaliland at which Dubai-based DP World has just started a 30-year concession, according to a spokesperson for the president of Somaliland.

The Dubai-based global terminal operator, which started a 30-year concession to manage the development and operation of the port in March, has allocated close to one-fifth of the port’s capacity for Ethiopian shipments, the spokesperson told media at a press conference in Hargeisa.

“We have not decided on our side. It is DP World that gave the Ethiopian government 19 percent of access and usage of the port,” said Hussein Ige Dayr at a briefing after a ceremony to celebrate the start of the DP World concession.

DP World said investment in the port could reach $442 million as it pushes on with its strategy to develop infrastructure to enable trade on the continent, including improved trade access for landlocked countries.

The Horn of Africa is strategically important to Gulf nations to protect shipping interests in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and because of ongoing military operations in Yemen. Somaliland’s parliament voted unanimously in February to allow the United Arab Emirates to establish a military base at Berbera.

With 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world. It borders Kenya to the south, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Eritrea to the north, and Sudan and South Sudan to the west.

The awarding of the concession last year sparked controversy in the breakaway province of Somaliland, with some politicians asking why it was given to the same company that operates the container terminal in nearby Djibouti, a major hub for Ethiopia’s trade.

Seventy percent of the cargo at Djibouti is shipped to or from Ethiopia, accounting for over 95 percent of Ethiopia's foreign trade. DP World has operated Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal since 2006.

DP World said Berbera Port will complement its investment in Djibouti and will also serve landlocked countries in the Horn of Africa.

The president of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud and DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem attended last week’s ceremony.

“These are exciting times for our industry and for Africa, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be an integral part of Somaliland’s development. Investment in this natural deep-water port and free zone will act as a catalyst for the growth of the country and the region’s economy,” bin Sulayem said.

The first phase of the development will involve construction of a 400-meter (1,312 feet) quay and 250,000-square-meter (2.7 million square feet) container yard, as well as a free trade zone designed to become a new regional trading hub.

Mohamoud said the port would revive Berbera as a major trade hub on the Red Sea.

“This DP World investment in the Port of Berbera will strengthen the relationship between the Republic of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates, which existed for many centuries in the past. Additionally, it will bring back and highlight the commercial position and importance of the Port of Berbera as a Red Sea gateway for the Middle East and Africa."