Addis Ababa April 05/2016 Ethiopia has signed a deal to boost trade through Berbera port, Somaliland, amid congestion at the facility in neighboring Djibouti, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Spokesperson Tewolde Mulugeta said.
According to Bloomberg, a committee is established to manage joint operations as part of the agreement signed on March 31, 2016.
The committee will work on the smooth implementation of the bilateral agreement and for improved facilitation of transit trade along the corridor.
Ethiopia has more than doubled its cereal imports in the last 12 months, it was indicated.
The nation wanted 30 percent of its trade to go via Berbera by July last year, according to a five-year growth plan published in 2010.
Transport Minister Workneh Gebeyehu said 97 percent of shipments are still going through Djibouti because of problems with the capacity and condition of Berbera port.
The poor state of roads to Ethiopia and the lack of international recognition for Somaliland’s statehood have contributed to the problems, the minister told Bloomberg.
“Now we have really negotiated the issue and decided to go very fast to use Berbera port,” he said, adding that the only thing that is left is the operational issues.
Port Sudan is already receiving fertilizer for northern areas of Ethiopia.
The Berbera Port Authority held discussions with U.S. Agency for International Development officials about aid imports, it was learnt.
The facility delivered 40,000 metric tons of wheat in February through Berbera for the UN World Food Programme to distribute to Ethiopians, according to the UN.