Dubai’s DP World group and the Government of Somaliland have inaugurated the new Berbera Economic Zone (BEZ), which, along with the Port of Berbera, aims to transform the area into a major trade hub in the Horn of Africa.
The first phase of the BEZ was officially opened by His Excellency Muse Bihi Abdi, President of Somaliland, and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, at a special event attended by several hundred guests. These included representatives from DP World’s investment partner in the port and zone, British International Investment (BII), the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI).
The opening followed the inauguration of the new container terminal at Berbera Port in June 2021. DP World’s vision for Berbera is to develop it into a trade hub, taking advantage of its strategic location along one of the busiest sea routes in the world and access to the hinterland in the region, including Ethiopia.
The BEZ is located just 15 km from the port and is based on the highly successful model of DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai. There will also be synergies between the two zones, as companies in Dubai can register for Berbera through the Jafza one-stop shop, while companies in Berbera can in turn access Jafza’s incubation centre facilities.
The zone is designed to create a business-friendly environment to attract investment and create jobs. DP World points out that it already signed an agreement with IFFCO, a UAE-based food company, to develop an edible oil packing plant in the BEZ.
Speaking at the event, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “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, making Berbera a world-class trading ecosystem, now and for the future.”
The Master Plan for the BEZ covers more than 1,200 hectares and will be expanded over time as demand grows. With phase one now open, it offers serviced land plots for the construction of company facilities, 10,000 m2 of pre-built warehouses, open yard storage, and a common user warehouse which DP World will operate, as well as office space with IT services.
Berbera Port is a multipurpose port with extensive bulk and breakbulk, liquid cargo and container handling facilities. The container terminal has a deep draft of 17m, a 400m long quay and three ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes, which can receive the largest container vessels in operation today. With a 500,000 TEU annual throughput capacity, the terminal also includes a container yard equipped with eight rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs).