By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – “The Government of Somaliland has a memorandum of understanding with Bollore up until 31 March this year to see if the two sides can reach an agreement within that timeframe on mutually acceptable terms”
This is per a report by the Somaliland National TV, from an interview with Somaliland’s Commerce and Investment Minister Dr Mohamed Omar, on the status of the government’s negotiations with the French Port Operator, Bollore.
Adding that his government wants to secure a substantial investment for the port of Berbera the country’s main one, in order to take a greater role in the regional Economy Dr Omar also revealed that “if there is no deal before the end of this month (31st March), the government will consider for an open international tender and will widen up the process”, thus bring onboard various other, of similar (Bollore) repute international port operators who have shown interest.
Independent sources close to the government indicate that other investors interested in Somaliland Ports Development include International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) a Philippines-based port operator.
ICTSI has just taken over Port Sudan and recently partnered Australia-based Anglo Ports to pursue a bid for the $1.2 billion port project, to be located at the Webb Dock East, Australia. ICTSI possess a market capital of more than $5 billion and manages and operates a portfolio of 27 marine terminals in 19 countries.
Our sources also claim that there are other European and Middle East port builders and operators which are interested to bid for Berbera.
Bollore African Logistics has had the favour of the Hargeisa government to the extent of having its contract attended by the head of state President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo himself during a recent visit to France resulting in what was thought to be a concrete arrangements for works initiation.
This development was followed by visits to various countries mostly in Africa where Bollore operates ports for onsite investigations by Somaliland government officials in the form of the minister of foreign Affairs Mohamed Bihi his commerce and investment colleague Dr Mohamed Omar and Berbera port General Manager Ali Horhor.
With revelations that the government might consider talking to other operators if Bollore is not forthcoming by the end of March 2014 and mostly likely a negative report by Messrs Behi, Omar and Horhor is an indication that things are not as thought thence door opened for discussions elsewhere.
Meanwhile to ordinary Somalilanders and most likely the government as well the point of import is the Country’s ports development and not which company does it.
International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is in the business of acquiring, developing, managing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide.
Established in December 1987 in the Philippines, ICTSI has become a leading operator, innovator and pioneer in its field. After consolidating and strengthening our base and flagship operations at the Manila International Container Terminal in the Philippines, we realized the potential for an independent international terminal operator like ourselves, and launched an aggressive international and domestic expansion program in 1994.
We have a track record that confirms our ability to rapidly adapt to different operating environments, and to add substantial value to our operated terminals by enhancing their efficiency at every level. We also have the proven ability to perform beyond the expectations of central and regional governments of a privatization process, spanning both developed and emerging economies.
We take pride in being a partner in the true sense of the word in the development and management of port operations with governments divesting themselves of maritime port assets by privatization or sale vehicles.
For more on ICTSI visit http://www.ictsi.com