The general manager of Bolloré Africa Logistics (BAL), Eric Sanchez, went to Hargeisa once again on 4 February to try to find common ground with the Somaliland authorities about operating the port of Berbera. To be sure, BAL has been vying for the contract for a good many years.
However, the French company is by no means the only runner in this race: to be sure, a delegation from the world number three ports operator, Dubai Ports World (DP World), headed by Mohammed Sharaf, discreetly met the Minister of Presidency Hersi Ali Haji Hassan in Berbera on 13 February 2015. DP World’s intention was to reaffirm its interest in operating Berbera Port to the Hargeisa government. The Dubai delegation obtained permission to deploy a team in Berbera to explore the solutions to develop the port.
At the same time, President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud “Silanyo” of Somaliland mandated the Dutch consulting company Maritime & Transport Business Solutions (MTBS) headed by Frank Luisman to analyse the BAL proposal. BAL director general Dominique Lafont has on several occasions expressed his irritation at the Somaliland authorities’ dithering. In December 2014, the French Ambassador to Nairobi, Rémi Maréchaux even sent Silanyo and eight of his ministers a letter to stress the importance of the Berbera contract for Bolloré, as it should enable 30% of Ethiopian trade to transit via Somaliland instead of Djibouti as at present.
In October 2014, the Somaliland port authorities had already been contacted for the same reason by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), with support from First Lady Amina Waris Sheikh Mohamed Jirde, and her son-in-law Bashe Awil Haji Omar
Source -The Indian Ocean Newsletter