The Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA) has welcomed the news that the Dubai-based giant port operator, DP World, has inked a USD 442 million deal to develop Berber Port in partnership with the Somaliland government.

The agreement is non-binding but sets the basic terms for the investment that includes investing the stated amount in the port “over time.”

The investment is dependent on the port’s performance, the statement said, and will also include the setting up of a free zone.

The development of the Berbera Port “will provide an additional gateway for Ethiopia that is needed for its growth and serve other land-locked countries along the east coast of Africa,” DP World said. In addition to that, the deal aims to transform the port into a “regional and logistic hub”.

The development of Berbera Port, which for long has been neglected and underdeveloped, is considered to be an opportunity by EMAA, which could be used to handle Ethiopia’s cargo via the port. Mekonnen Abera, director general of EMAA, toldThe Reporterthat seeing DP World take a bold interest to develop Berbera Port is something a cargo owner perceives as an opportunity.

It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian government has been planning to develop ports with other stakeholders. Both officials of the Ministry of Transport and EMAA have been making statements in that regard. A newly introduced ten-year logistic development masterplan envisages a mutual development of corridors and ports in neighboring countries.

According toGulf News,the agreement was signed during a recent visit to DP World’s offices in Dubai by Somaliland officials. Recently, Somaliland’s President Ahmad Mohammad Mohamoud was in the United Arab Emirates. Somaliland is an autonomous and brake away state region in the Horn of Africa.

Back in 2015, another Dubai based company named P&O Ports was in contact with the Somaliland to enter into agreements to develop ports in the region.

P&O Ports is a sister company of DP World but does not share the same ownership structure. DP World is owned by Dubai investment company Dubai World while P&O Ports is owned by state entity Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC).