Chinese-built rail boosts Ethiopia's profitability-[Standard Gauge Railway; reduce logistical bottlenecks; railway wagons]


Passengers board a train on Addis Ababa-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [Photo/Xinhua]

ADDIS ABABA-The Ethiopian government said the Chinese-built Addis Ababa-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway is set to streamline Ethiopian exports and boost profitability.


This came after a delegation led by Abdi Zenebe, CEO of Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway S.C. (EDR), recently visited Djibouti and held a meeting with officials at the Ethiopian Embassy in Djibouti to discuss ways to streamline Ethiopian exports by reducing logistical bottlenecks and increasing profitability, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


"By utilizing railway wagons and setting up affordable prices to attract more clientele, the railway company is focusing on schemes of addressing logistical issues caused by the conventional ways of transporting Ethiopian exports to Djibouti and beyond," the statement read.


The 752-kilometer transnational railway is expected to reduce the overall supply chain constraints by developing a system of transportation that fits the global standard for products such as fruits and vegetables, cold and chilled meat and live animals, which will eventually benefit millions of growers and herders, the statement quoted Zenebe as saying.


The Addis Ababa-Djibouti electrified railway, also known as the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, was contracted by China Rail Engineering Corp and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp.


The railway company would be able to expedite the transport of live animals to Djibouti's Doralleh multipurpose port to reach their final destinations in the Middle East and the Gulf, the statement said.


During the discussions, an agreement has been reached to hold the first Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Promotion Fair in October this year in order to best connect investors, exporters and importers, maximize revenue for EDR and boost trade between the two countries, according to the ministry.


The railway currently provides both passenger and freight services between Ethiopia and Djibouti.


According to figures from the joint venture, the railway's monthly transport revenue exceeded $9 million and $10 million in October and November, respectively, in 2021, the best result since 2018. The transport revenue in 2021 is 37.4 percent higher than in 2020.


The railway has also created numerous job opportunities, with more than 4,000 locals employed so far, which accounts for over 90 percent of total staff.