Somaliland opens new terminal at Berbera Port, plans to expand it to an economic zone

Somaliland opens new terminal at Berbera Port, plans to expand it to an economic zone


DP World, a leading provider of integrated logistics solutions and the government of semi-autonomous Somaliland inaugurated the new container terminal on June 24 at Berbera Port, following completion of the first phase of the port’s expansion as part of its development into a major regional trade hub for the Horn of Africa.

The new terminal was officially opened by President of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at a special event attended by over 200 guests, who included a government delegation from Ethiopia led by Minister for Finance Ahmed Shide and, Minister for Transport Dagmawit Moges.

The event also witnessed symbolic ground-breaking for the new Berbera Economic Zone, the first phase of which is already under construction.

The new container terminal with a deep draft of 17 metres, a quay of 400 metres and three ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes, can handle the largest container vessels in operation today and increases the port’s container capacity from 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 and one-stop-service centre is also currently being built and will be ready in the third quarter of this year.

DP World has committed to investing up to $442 million to develop and expand Berbera Port and with the first phase now complete, Bin Sulayem also announced that work is already underway to further expand the port in a second phase. This includes extending the new quay from 400 to 1,000 metres, 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 is 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 economic zone will serve as a centre for trade 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 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 of 2021 and quarter three of 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 Muse Bihi Abdi said, “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 Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said, “Our further expansion of the port in the 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 for trade. It will be a viable, efficient and competitive option for trade in the region, especially for Ethiopian transit cargo.”

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 and reduced container vessel waiting time from four to five days, to just 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 a major trade and logistics corridors for the country’s international trade.

  • A Tell report
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