A huge vessel has docked at the port of Bur Gavo in Jubbaland Regional State loading an estimated 17000 sacks of charcoal, residents and a local elder have told Radio Dalsan.
“There has been increased activity in both the hinterland and the port. A lot of charcoal has been brought to the port in the last one week” Jeylani SheeBwana a Bur Gavo elder told Radio Dalsan in a phone interview.
Bwana confirmed the presence of the dhow and its size.
The cargo is said to be destined for the Middle East market. The United Arab Emirates and Yemen have been the main importers of charcoal from Somalia.
According to information relayed from the port operators and charcoal dealers this is the first shipment of charcoal that is expected to sail to UAE today.
Sources indicate more tonnes of charcoal would be exported this week, before an expected new round of sanctions on charcoal trade is imposed.
A rush is been experienced at the southern coast of Somalia in anticipation of the new sanctions.
Ironically this latest surge comes two days after an international conference on illegal charcoal trade was concluded in Mogadishu with Somalia seeking assistance from the international community to deal with matter.
“We need a holistic response to address the issues of charcoal in Somalia. Both the demand and supply side have to be tackled. To do this we need cooperation to implement the UN Security Council Resolution and ensure the environmental economic and human losses that happen because of illegal charcoal trade curbed” Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia Mahdi Guled told the conference reaffirming the government’s commitment to halt the illegal trade.
Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and the Somali government due to its destructive effect on the environment, and its exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises.
According to the UN, 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation and food insecurity, and illegal trade in charcoal acts as major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as al-Shabab.
A UN monitors’ report released late 2017 said Somali militant group Alshabaab earns approximately 10 million U.S. dollar annually from charcoal smuggled to Middle East through Somali ports.