United Arab Emirates (UAE) based port operator DP World has begun the construction of the first phase of the Berbera port expansion in Somaliland.

Development of the first phase will be carried out with an investment of $101m and will include a 400m quay and 250,000m² of new yard.

A free zone will also be built in the first phase to create a new regional trading hub.

DP World Berbera, a joint venture company at Berbera Port, will serve landlocked countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, which has a 19% interest in the project.

Shafa Al Nahda Contracting, a partner of DP World, has won the contract for the port expansion. Previously, it was involved in the Port of Dakar expansion in Senegal and also the Port of Maputo expansion project in Mozambique.

“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.”

DP World group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said: “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.

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“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.”

DP World is set to invest a total of $442m in the two-phase expansion of Berbera port, reported thenational.ae.

Once completed, the expansion is expected to increase the port’s capacity from the current 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) to 450,000 TEUs.