Hargeisa (THT) Ethiopia will start using the Port of Berbera this month as per the agreement the two countries concluded in late January 2015.
During the issuance of one billion dollar sovereign bond by Ethiopia in October 2014, the nation expressed its concern on the dependence of Port Djibouti. Currently in addition to Port Djibouti Ethiopia started using Port Sudan for the import of 50,000 tons of fertilizer.
Presenting six months performance report to the Federal legislature, Workeneh Gebeyehu, Minister for Transport, said, “Five to 10pc of the country’s imports are planned to come through the port of Berbera, and we will be looking for proper ports for different areas of the country.” “But the Port of Djibouti continues to be the major one,” he added.
After putting into consideration Ethiopia’s five years Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) which brought an annual growth of 10.1 percent, Djibouti started an expansion work on its port at an outlay of USD 9.8 Billion. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and it is said it will increase the capacity of the port by 15 times.
On the other hand the Ethiopian government is constructing a 98 kilometers railway which will stretch from the Somali Region to Djibouti. The construction is being carried out at an outlay of USD 1.98 Billion by the Chinese firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The project is financed by the Chinese EXIM Bank.
Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise (ESLSE) finalized a deal with an agent in the Berbera Port. The agent is a member of GSK Group of Djibouti. In February a ship owned by ESLSE is expected to deploy 20 to 30 containers at the Berbera Port.
Alemu Ambaye, (Chief ENG), Shipping Services Sector deputy chief executive officer, explained the Enterprise will be bringing goods to the Berbera Port from India, Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Yet the Enterprise intends to reach to China and the Far East, he furthered.
The port for the time being is going to be used for importing coal, Tesfaye Chanchissa, public relations officer at the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority, explained.
There is a slight difference in the rate of payment when compared to Djibouti, Alemu said. The rate payment is based on loading and unloading of goods, he added.
According to Samson Wondimu, the communications director at the Ethiopian Roads Authority, the Jigjiga-Togo-Wuchale road is asphalt yet the road within Somalia is not suitable. Currently the Ethiopian government is working with the government of Somalia in the quest of finding a source for financing, he added.
ESLSE is going to be rendering transshipment service – meaning the ships will mainly com to Djibouti and then probe to the place of origin after reaching the Port of Berbera.
We will use alternative ports without affecting the benefits of other ports,” Workneh noted.
According to Fortune, ESLSE will be deploying goods at the newly agreed ports every two weeks. The Enterprise has also made some new clients and thus it is using the new route.