Djibouti believes in Ethiopia’s growth

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Djibouti is planning to invest over USD 1.5 billion in the next three years on ports and maritime related business activities, keeping Ethiopia in mind.

The Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority chairman, Aboubaker Omer Hadi, disclosed the intent of his agency last Friday at a reception held with clients and business partners at the Sheraton Addis.

Aboubaker said the major investment is going to be on a new ship repair and dry dock infrastructure that is going to cost 400 million dollars, while the second phase of the Doraleh Container Terminal will be constructed with an outlay of 330 million dollars with a capacity of three million TEU’s.

“The current Doraleh Container Terminal traffic is expected to reach its full capacity of handling 1.2 million TEU’s by the end of 2012 and we need to increase our capacity by constructing another terminal to handle the increasing traffic,” Aboubaker added. Djibouti Port handles over 90 percent of Ethiopia’s rapidly growing import

The 150 million dollar construction of the second phase of the Oil Terminal is also expected to start in 2012 aiming to increase the current capacity by 30 percent.

According to the chairman, the port’s activity of non-containerized traffic in 2011 increased by 60 percent reaching 4.5 million metric tons. In relation to containerized cargo service, traffic doubled to reach 800 thousand TEU compared to last year’s same time activity.

The petroleum traffic to Ethiopia also surged to 2.3 million cubic meters on average in 2010 and 2011. “This is a development supported by additional capacity created following the inauguration of the first phase of Doraleh Container Terminal,” Aboubaker said.

In addition the Djiboutian authorities are also set to expand the Port of Djibouti’s outer jetty berths and increase its depths from 12 to 13.75 meters with a total investment of 88.5 million dollars.  This will provide the port with a capacity to accommodate six million tons of cargo a year in its first phase and three million extra tons in its second phase.

The authority also aspires to develop Tadjourah port at a cost of 85 million dollars. The port located 15 Km from Tadjourah and expected to be completed by 2013 will be mainly for bulk commodities like potash, explained Aboubaker.

Construction of the Port of Goubet will also consume an investment of 55 million dollars and is expected to be operational in 2013. It is a port primarily intended for the export of salt and will have the capacity of handling 4.5 million tons of traffic per year.

The authority has also a plan to set up a livestock port inside the existing Djibouti port at a cost of 20 million dollars with a capacity to serve two million heads of livestock annually. It also plans to develop a Free Zone, the Jaban Us, in PK12 at a cost of 30 million dollars, and expects to launch its study in 2012.

The coming three years will now be dedicated to the development of the Ports and Free Zones with a total outlay of 1.5 billion dollars, announced Aboubaker Omar Hadi, the newly appointed head of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.

Aboubaker, a man in his fifties who previously worked at the Port of Lagos in Nigeria, succeeded Aden Ahmed Doualeh in July 2011. With a rich career in the field of transport and port affairs, particularly with many qualities such as leadership and flexibility, he is considered the right person to take the authority to a higher level. Aboubaker has had a thirty-year career in the port of Djibouti, where he made his debut in the early 80’s.

In his speech Aboubaker noted that his office is in discussion with the ministries of transport and customs authority of South Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti so as to finalize the transit agreement and pave the way for South Sudan cargo to transit through Ethiopia and use the port of Djibouti as its first port.  He explained the road has been completed on the Ethiopian side and is well in progress in South Sudan. But, he said, for the short and medium term the options will be the waterways from Malakal to Juba and Wau using multimodal roads and barges.

The Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority is the governing authority that sets the rules, directives and overarching principles for the smooth and efficient running of the current and future ports; as well as  free zones, in Djibouti.

As of July 1, 2011 the management contract between DP World and the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority come to an end, and the general cargo has since been handled by the authority. In June 2000, the government of Djibouti and DPWorld signed a 20 year contract to manage the Port of Djibouti facilities which were later extended. During that period of cooperation, the plan to construct a new port emerged in November 2006, and the cooperation evolved into a venture on Doraleh Port also to be managed by DPWorld. The Doraleh Port includes a container and an oil terminal which was a 450 million dollar venture where the government of Djibouti gets two third and DPWorld one third of the revenue from the port.