Dubai-based global marine terminal operator DP World said construction work has started on the development of the multi-purpose Berbera port in Somaliland.
The joint venture project, DP World Berbera, will also serve land locked countries in the Horn of Africa such as Ethiopia which has a 19 per cent stake in the project as a shareholder, said officials while speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony held in the presence of Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
The first phase will consist of building a 400-m-long quay and 250,000-sq-m yard extension as well as the development of a free zone to create a new regional trading hub.
Long-term DP World partner Shafa Al Nahda Contracting has been awarded the construction contract for the port expansion. It had been earlier involved in the Port of Dakar expansion in Senegal as well the Port of Maputo expansion project in Mozambique.
Speaking at the launch, Bin Sulayem said: "This event is a landmark in the history of Somaliland and for DP World. We are delighted that construction work has begun and over the next few years we will see a transformation in the capacity of this major infrastructure asset that will benefit people both here and across the Horn of Africa, providing an alternative gateway to international markets and providing jobs to the people of Somaliland."
"This is all part of our vision to act as an enabler of trade and to encourage growth by helping African countries develop their economies with access to global markets," he noted.
"Investment in this natural deep-water port and free zone will act as a catalyst for the growth of the country and the region’s economy and create jobs at many levels. Alongside physical assets we are investing in the development of the people who work here through training and skills development across our network," he added.
Dubbing it as a historic day, Bihi Abdi said: "As we mark another major milestone in the development of our economy and by investing in our infrastructure, we will be able to grow for the benefit of our people, the region and beyond."
"Connecting to landlocked countries such as Ethiopia and the rest of the region will reinforce the firm relationships that now exist and make Somaliland an important player in regional economic integration and growth," said the Somaliland President.
"The importance of the Port of Berbera as a Red Sea gateway for the Middle East and Africa can now be realised, unlocking our potential as a trade hub and creating jobs across the country," he added.-TradeArabia News Service
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