UN World Food Programme

Improving Local Infrastructure in Somalia

WFP has conducted extensive rehabilitation works to Somalia's Mogadishu port, pictured here. Copyright: WFP/Mads Vejlstrup

When WFP launched Special Operation 105780 in 2007, there was one main objective: to promote the uninterrupted and timely supply of relief items to vulnerable populations across Somalia. At the time, humanitarian access was very limited; port infrastructures in Somalia were in urgent need of repair and these challenges, coupled with large security risks, impeded the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. In addition, WFP aimed to reduce operational costs, while building local capacity and supporting a larger framework of economic development.

While a cornerstone of this operation focused on the rehabilitation of Mogadishu port, Somalia’s main source of incoming humanitarian and commercial cargo, extensive works were also made to the Port of Bossaso -- deepening the inner and outer harbours and allowing larger vessels to berth at the port.

Improvements made to Mogadishu port have yielded substantial gains in cost-savings, operational efficiency, and local economic development. The dredging of the harbour allowing access to all six berths  has not only led to a 100% increase in port capacity, but has also enabled the berthing of larger vessels up to a maximum of 20,000 metric tonnes – a 33% increase than previously possible. The installation of a continuous power supply has resulted in enhanced security and unloading capacity from vessel to port, raising them from a maximum of 1,000 metric tonnes/per day to 1,500 metric tonnes.

Above is a snapshot from Google Earth of the Mogadishu Port, with a few notes on what has been rehabilitated or constructed by WFP thus far.

The building and equipping of a port control tower has improved communications between the port and approaching vessels, greatly enhancing the fight against piracy.

Following the successful rehabilitation of various ports, WFP has committed to building and investing in local staff capacities, promoting self-sufficiency and paving the way for long-term operational success. Storage created at the various ports have allowed for WFP to strategically position commodities, not only to support its own operations, but those of the humanitarian community as well.

At the beginning of 2013, this Operation concluded with benefits for both WFP and the host community. While WFP and other humanitarian organizations have benefited from increased humanitarian access and operational efficiency, the country of Somalia has enhanced its overall logistics capacity, secured better trade networks and augmented commercial opportunities.

But WFP’s work doesn’t end there. In 2013, rehabilitation works will continue: a new Special Operation will seek to build on the foundation that has already been built, and foster further success for the future.