The President of the Republic of Somaliland HE Muse Bihi Abdi has inaugurated the completion of the first phase of the modernization and expansion of Berbera Port, which started in late 2018.
Following the successful Parliamentary and Local council elections that were held on May 31st and days away from its independence day of June 26th, the completion of the 442 million dollar expansion is another milestone that makes Somaliland a major player in global trade and puts it in direct competition with other regional ports including Djibouti’s flagship Daroleh port.
Speaking at the event, President Bihi 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”.
At the inauguration event, President Bihi and DP World officials announced a second expansion phase that will extend the port’s quay from 400 meters to 1,000 and add seven more STS gantry cranes to allow the port to handle up to two million TEUs a year and multiple large container vessels at the same time.
“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 center of trade. It will be a viable, efficient, and competitive option for trade in the region, especially for Ethiopian transit cargo,” said Mr. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the DP World Group Chairman, and CEO.
Over 200 people attended the inauguration event, including an Ethiopian government delegation led by their Excellencies Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance, and Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport. Ethiopia has a population of 112 million is landlocked is Somaliland’s largest trade partner holds a 19% stake in Berbera Port.
Besides the port upgrade and modernization by DP World, the construction of a major highway project dubbed Berbera Corridor funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is underway. The Berbera Corridor will link Berbera Port to DP World’s 1 billion dollars dry port facility recently announced on the Ethiopian side. The United Kingdom is funding a 22.5 kilometer Hargeisa Bypass section of the Berbera Corridor.
Although Somaliland has not gained international recognition, it has been successfully attracted direct foreign investment from some of the world’s largest corporations, such as DP World and Trafigura.