The Ministry of Transport is increasing the number of customs warehouse throughout the country that can be used for multi-modal transportation.
The circular, written by the National Bank of Ethiopia, indicated that banks can open an LC (Letter of Credit) so their clients can ship to new Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) warehouses.
The multimodal directive that has been effective since January 1, 2012 instructs all shipments that use multimodal transport systems to deliver their cargo to dry ports or warehouses that are authorized by ERCA.
When the new operation commenced in January this year all shipments had to transport either in the two dry ports in Mojo and Semera or the only ERCA warehouse; Comet located in Kality.
Based on the new circular, clients can open their LC for other warehouses formed in various regions of the country. According to sources the NBE letter indicated that an additional 10 new warehouse facilities have been set up for the multimodal transportation system.
At the beginning of the year the Ministry of Transport (MoT) introduced a multimodal operation scheme to be undertaken through the state owned Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Enterprise (ESLE).
Some of the new warehouses are located in Tigrai, Afar and Oromia regional states
Since then members of the Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents Association raised their concerns about the directive, saying it allowed only ESLE to be involved in the multimodal transport service.
They said that the monopoly will collapse the 88 freight forwarders and shipping agents and other companies that worked in the sector, because the directive did not provide any space for the private sector. The government promised that it will allow private companies to be involved in the new operation but it did not specify when.
The association officials said that they have finalized their preparation to claim their case for the PM. Previously the association had claimed their case to the Ministry of Transportation office.
The multimodal arrangement is a scheme whereby the transportation of goods is under a single contract but performed with two different means of transportation. The transporter is accountable for the entire journey, including the shipment’s delivery at the final destination. The transportation can be carried out by rail, sea, and road.
Currently bulk imports and exports are still allowed to operate under the old trend but most of the bulk items are governmental.