DP World, the largest port operator company in the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday launched construction work to expand the Berbera port in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland, the press service of the Government of Dubai said.

“This event is a landmark in the history of Somaliland and for DP World. We are delighted that construction work has begun and over the next few years we will see a transformation in the capacity of this major infrastructure asset that will benefit people both here and across the Horn of Africa, providing an alternative gateway to international markets and providing jobs to the people of Somaliland,” DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said, as quoted in the statement.

The first phase of construction includes building a 400-meter (437 yards) quay, the extension of the classification yard by 250,000 square meters (almost 300,000 square yards) and the creation of a free zone for a new regional trading hub, according to the Dubai Government.

“DP World Berbera, the joint venture company, will also serve land locked countries in the Horn of Africa such as Ethiopia which has a 19% stake in the project as a shareholder,” the statement read.

The project will reportedly triple the capacity of the port with the first phase costing over $100 million, while cost of the whole project amounts to over $420 million. UAE has also been reportedly constructing a military base at the Berbera airport.