Somaliland President Inaugurates Berbera Economic Zone

The opening follows the inauguration of a new container terminal in June 2021. 

By Chriselle Moraes on
14th April 2023

President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of Dubai-based DP World, inaugurated the Berbera Economic Zone (BEZ) on 3 March. 

The first phase of BEZ comprises serviced land plots for the construction of company facilities, 10,000 square metres of pre-built warehouses, open yard storage, a common user warehouse that DP World will operate to handle customers’ cargo, office space as well as build-to-suit facilities.

The masterplan for BEZ covers more than 1,200 hectares and the facilities will be expanded as demand grows.

The BEZ and the new Port of Berbera are intended to transform the country into a regional trade hub with integrated maritime, logistics, and industrial operations. Representatives from DP World’s partners in the port and zone project, British International Investment (BII), the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) and other investors were also at the inauguration. 

The Port of Berbera is a multipurpose port with bulk and break-bulk handling facilities, a liquid cargo capability and a container terminal. It has a deep draft of 17 metres, a quay of 400 metres and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes, which can receive the largest container vessels in operation today. The port can handle 500,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year. 

The port's location along one of the busiest sea routes in the world, with access to Horn of Africa countries such as Ethiopia, gives it a strategic advantage. BEZ is located 15 kilometres from the port, along the Berbera to Wajaale road which connects to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.  

“The dynamics of global trade are changing, and there is a growing need for trade infrastructure, such as economic zones, with easy and fast access to international shipping. These will bring companies closer to their customers, improve their logistics and allow them to expand into new markets. The integration of Berbera port with the new economic zone is a great example of this,” said Bin Sulayem.  

The new container terminal at Berbera port opened June 2021. 

President Abdi said, “After the inauguration of the container terminal at Berbera Port, and now with the economic zone open for business, we are taking a major leap forward in realising our vision to establish Berbera as an integrated, regional trade gateway, which will be a key driver of economic growth, achieved through increased trade flows, foreign investment, and job creation.” 

DP World has already signed an agreement with IFFCO, a UAE-based food company, to develop a 300,000-square-foot edible oil packing plant in the economic zone. A dozen other companies have also registered interest.

DP World said the zone will help to make trade easier for businesses in the region, benefiting both exporters and importers, such as processors of livestock and those handling agricultural and perishable goods, textiles and construction materials.

Top photo: BEZ (Supplied by DP World)

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