DP World and the Government of Somaliland have inaugurated the new container terminal at Berbera Port, following the completion of the first phase of the port’s expansion as part of its development into a major regional trade hub to serve the Horn of Africa.
The new 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 and increases the port’s box capacity from the current 150,000TEU to 500,000TEU annually.
The terminal also includes a modern container yard with eight rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), while a new port One Stop Service Centre is also currently being built and will be ready in the third quarter of the year.
DP World has committed to investing up to US$442 million to develop and expand Berbera Port, and with the first phase now complete, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, has 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 to 10, enabling the port to handle up to two million TEU per year, and multiple large container vessels at the same time.
DP World said in its announcement that 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 located along the Berbera to Wajaale road (Berbera Corridor).
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, according to an announcement.
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. They are set for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022, respectively.
The road will link to the existing highway on the Ethiopian side and position Berbera as a direct, fast, and efficient trade route for Ethiopian transit cargo, according to a statement.
“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,” commented Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
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 4-5 days, to only a few hours, according to DP World.
The UAE-based global port operator and the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May this year, with the aim of 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.