By M.A. Egge
The President H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi received a delegation led by Mr. Suhail Al Banna, who is the group Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa of DP World, at the Presidential Palace on Saturday 3rd December.
The Head of State thanked and praised the DP world for the numerous tangible investments the multinational made in Somaliland.
They discussed on aspects related to the projects carried out by DP World in the country, especially in Berbera, with a focus on the completion of the construction of the first part of the Free Zone, which is expected to be completed by the end of this month of December.
It will be followed by the implementation of a second phase.
It is also worth noting that there are many companies, both local and foreign-owned that have already been listed to establish themselves in the Free Zone area.
All corporations taking advantage of the tax-free facility will propel the county’s economic growth and development.
The DP World officials briefed the president on the general activities of the Port of Berbera which is under their management and were hopeful that the port will be an economic center that serves the countries of the Horn and East Africa.
The DP World has made monumental development investments and projects in the country such as:-
-Berbera Port’s new container terminal inaugurated, has a capacity for 500,000 TEUs a year.
-Second phase expansion of the terminal will increase capacity up to two million TEUs a year,
-Berbera Economic Zone under development aims to attract investment and new businesses, and to create jobs,
-Expanded port, economic zone and Berbera corridor will transform Berbera into an integrated maritime, industrial and logistics hub in the Horn of Africa.
The new container terminal with a deep draft of 17m, a quay of 400m 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 One Stop Service Centre is also currently being built and will be ready in quarter three this 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.
Other projects 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 and 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 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. 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, 2021 and quarter three 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.
(Additional information: sources)