Logistical challenges to relief aid: An explorative study on Somaliland’s transport sector and the emergence of logistics service providers

Start date: 29 August, 2017 End date: 29 November, 2017 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A31633 Countries: Somalia (incl. Somaliland) Institutions: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark Grant recipient: Simon Wallisch Total grant: 21,921 DKK



This thesis provides an explorative baseline study of Somaliland’s transportation sector in Berbera corridor through a lens of humanitarian utilisation. The analysis of the main actors, their interrelations, and modes of operation is conducted using a tripartite concept of embeddedness (Hess 2004). Hereby, I found that logistics service providers overcome operational challenges through their societal embeddedness, acquire knowledge and expertise through network embeddedness, and are constrained and exposed to economic changes due to their territorial embeddedness. The humanitarian system has a positive impact on the transport economy by proliferating knowledge, enforcing local capacities, and providing economic opportunities to a diverse set of transporters.

An investment deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ethiopia in Berbera corridor is set to transform Somaliland from the global periphery to a major outlet of landlocked Ethiopia. This provides economic opportunities, but also risks concentrating logistics-activity to a limited number of elites. The example of the humanitarian system’s use of the local economy is suggested as a blueprint for wider economic inclusion in the Berbera corridor.