Government authorities and other stakeholders are deliberating the formulation of a legal framework that would enable Ethiopia to utilize Berbera port for its import-export activities, The Reporter learned.

The port facility in the Indian Ocean is attracting wider attention in the Horn of Africa, which is believed to further the economic advantages of countries, particularly Ethiopia.

The CEO of Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), Roba Megersa, told The Reporter that the Ethiopian ship named Gibe has become the first Ethiopian ship to dock at the newly inaugurated facility this week.

Roba further indicated that in a bid to realize Ethiopian interest in its shipping and forwarding business, further agreements are expected to be reached in terms of custom related service, the use of the facility [port] and other related issues.

The legal framework issues needed before Ethiopia begins to use the port for itself would be handled by the Ethiopian Maritime Authority, Roba told The Reporter.

In addition to that, Ethiopia’s effort to undertake its shipping and forwarding plans would be realized with the collaboration of various institutions including ESLSE, EMA, transport authorities, and Customs Commission. These bodies are already working together to design and formulate the required legal frameworks, will decide what kind of goods and items are going to be transported via this port, Roba noted, adding that discussions are underway with stakeholders.

Roba revealed that since Berbera Port already offers a huge market, the ESLSE will deploy only two of its ships, Gibe and Shebele for freight forwarding services, at least until the legal framework is ready.

“As the port commenced operation this week, further vessel deployments will be decided based on demands for Ethiopian shipping services at the port,” he told The Reporter adding, the current shipping and forwarding service is undertaken along the route of the Gulf & the Indian sub-continent. He further elaborated that the enterprise mainly transports consumer items including vehicles and will launch more services of transporting other items including containers, freight and cargo services in the near future.

In its first shipment service, Gibe has transported more than 11,200 tons of consumption items to Somaliland while Shebelle will ship equal volume of goods to Ethiopia