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Ethiopia wants to use Port Sudan for importing goods

By Tajuddin
In BUSINESS
Jan 2nd, 2015
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Port Sudan

Port Sudan

Addis Ababa ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Landlocked Ethiopia, which currently ships 90% of its exports and imports through the port of Djibouti, is to use Port Sudan for importing goods.

According to reports in the Sudan Tribune, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport announced yesterday that the government will be importing 50,000 tonnes of fertiliser through Port Sudan. Last week, a 5,000m2 storage facility was opened at Mojo, south of Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is keen to avoid complete dependence on Djibouti and has been looking at alternative ports in Kenya and Somalia as well as Sudan. Negotiations have taken place with the port of Berbera, in Somaliland region,North-western Somalia .

Although the nearest Red Sea outlet to Addis Ababa is Assab, in southern Eritrea, poor relations between the two countries after the war of 1998 have led to that port being ruled out as an option.

Development in Ethiopia and Sudan has been hampered by inadequate inland transport, which both countries are aiming to alleviate by the construction of standard-gauge (SG) heavy-haul railways.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation is expected to complete track laying in October from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa on Ethiopian Railways Corporation’s 756km SG line to Djibouti. This is the first element of a planned 5,000km network of lines radiating out from the Ethiopian capital.

Another line will be built northwards into Sudan to connect with Sudan Railways Corporation’s new SG route from Khartoum to Port Sudan, and a third line will head southwest towards Boma, in South Sudan.

The fourth route will run due south from Addis Ababa to the border town of Moyale, there to join Kenya’s LAPSSET road/SG rail/pipeline corridor to the new deepwater port of Lamu. China Communication Constructions Company has been contracted to build the first three of a planned 32 berths at Lamu.

Other major SG rail projects in southern and eastern Africa that are planned or are in progress include rehabilitation of the Tanzania-Zambia (Tazara) Railway from Dar es Salaam and the future Bagamoyo port, construction of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from the port of Mombasa to Kampala, and ongoing renewal of the Lobito Corridor from Angola’s deepwater port of Lobito into the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Completion of LAPSSET and the Ethiopian and Sudanese schemes will link Red Sea ports with the Indian Ocean, avoiding the sea route round the Horn of Africa and maritime security concerns off the coast of Somalia. Connecting these to the SGR, Tazara and Lobito Corridor opens the possibility of a viable overland route from the Red Sea to the Atlantic.

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