Growing its ever increasing footprint in Africa, integrated logistics solutions provider Dubai Ports World (DP World) and the government of Somaliland have inaugurated a new container provider at Berbera port.
This follows the completion of the first phase of the port’s expansion plan, as part of its development into a major regional trade hub serving the Horn of Africa.
The official opening of the new terminal also included the symbolic ground-breaking for the Berbera Economic Zone, with the first phase of this development currently under construction.
The new container terminal, with a deep draft of 17 m, a quay of 400 m 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 the current 150 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), to 500 000 TEUs a year.
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 of this year.
DP World has committed to investing up to $442-million to develop and expand Berbera port, with the first phase now complete.
The company has also announced that work is already underway to further expand the port in a second phase.
This includes extending the new quay from 400 m to 1 000 m, and installing a further seven STS gantry cranes, increasing the total from three to ten, enabling the port to handle up to two-million TEUs a year, and multiple large container vessels at the same time.
As part of the overall Berbera plan, 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 – the Berbera Corridor.
The economic zone is set to 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.
The Berbera Corridor road upgrade project, funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the UK’s Department for International Development, and the Hargeisa bypass road, funded by UK Aid, are set for completion in the fourth quarter of the year, and quarter three, next year, 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”.
DP World Berbera, which began operations at the Berbera port in March, 2017, has managed to increase port volumes by 35% and vessel productivity by 300%, while also reducing container vessel waiting time from four to five days, to only a few hours.
DP World and the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport have also 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.