Addis Ababa, October 12, 2009 (SomalilandPress)- Bollore Africa Logistics (SDV international), a French-based company, is close to striking a deal to manage Berbera Port, Capital has learnt. Eng.Ali Omer Mohamed, General Manager of Berbera Port Authority announced that a memorandum of understanding was signed between SDV representatives and port officials four months ago. He said: “We are looking at and dealing with this big French company in that regard.” However, he also admitted that since the memorandum of understanding was signed there has been little progress.
SDV’s agent in Addis Ababa did not have any comment on the issue. The Somaliland press said on 28 May, 2009 that a delegation of French officials arrived on a private jet in the Somaliland port city of Berbera for talks with the President of Somaliland Dahir Rayale Kahin and other senior officials who had travelled from the capital, Hargeissa.
The port manager told Capital that this French company was interested in investing in the port. According to the local media, Bollore was the first logistics network integrated in Africa and has over 200 agencies throughout the continent.
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Engineer Ali Omer Mohamed said that both the Governments of Ethiopia and Somaliland are working together to upgrade the port, and that everything is now underway. He added that neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, can utilise the port for competitive and reasonable tariffs.
The security situation of Somaliland in general, and the Berbera Port in particular, are now considered stable and the Ethiopian business community can use the port freely. The port manger said it is very safe for trucks, containers and the necessary facilities for truck drivers are maintained.
Abdullahi M. Duale, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland said that Ethiopia is not a landlocked country because it has Berbera Port that it can utilise it as its own. The minister noted that Ethiopian and Somaliland are not only partners in security, but partner in trade; currently the World Food Programme is using the port as an alternative entry into Ethiopia to bring in its emergency relief packages for those people in Somali region who are critically short of food.
The foreign minister added that the port will have regional importance and that there are plans for its development, including a major new access road. He concluded: “We will be sending very soon a technical committee to Addis Ababa which will be looking in a comprehensive way at to how to start the activity. We will be hoping to sign a memorandum of understanding.”
Berbera Port Fact File:
– It is 1090 km from Addis Ababa
– It is located on the south coast of the Gulf of Aden
– Its time zone is GMT plus three hours
– Ships approach southeast from the Red Sea and southwest from Gulf States
– The depth of the entrance bay is approximately 30 metres.
– The depth of the water ranges from nine to 12 metres.
Source: Addis Mulugeta, Capital