Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Chinese firm clinches $1.6 bln rail way project

Ethiopian Railways Corporation yet again signed another railway construction agreement, this time for the construction of the 268.2Km Mekele-Woldiya/Hara Gebeya Railway project with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to be built at a cost of almost USD 1.6 billion. The project is expected to take three and half years to complete.
The agreement which also includes an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract is expected to link with the Mekele-Woldiya/Hara Gebeya- Semera-Dicheto-Elidar project, connecting the Northern part of Ethiopia with the Tadjourah port of Djibouti.
The project, by connecting with the Tadjourah port of Djibouti, is projected to give the country an alternative port access and thus will contribute to the economic growth of hinterland Ethiopia.
Dr. Getachew Betru, General Manager of Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) said the project which will be built on a difficult terrain will have an alternate use. It will have a huge potential of transporting potash and metals from mines to Tadjourah Port.
ERC also expects both freight and passenger traffic from point to point and intercity to be transported through this railway line.
The other prominent segment includes the southern Tigray cities of Alamata and Kobo as well as neighboring Amhara regional cities of Korem, Meswait, Makamati and Hivane.
Getachew further said that there will be an extension project stretching from Woldiya- Awash area that is expected to link up with the ongoing Addis Ababa-Djibouti line around Dire Dawa city.
The 268.2KmMekele-Woldiya/Hara Gebeya Railway project is just the start of the three phases of roads linking Mekele-Djibouti line with the current railroad. It is expected to be the toughest yet railway project yet to be constructed.
ERC says the project will comprise 29 large bridges and 19Km tunneling works with the Chinese firm (CCCC) expected to mobilize resources and start construction in six weeks time.
“We expect the civil work of the railway project to be completely sub-contracted to local contractors in order to build up the capacity of local companies,” said Getachew.
Getachew said the winning company was chosen after the short listing of 15 international companies from countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Another Chinese company China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. Ltd. (CREEC) recently started constructing the 37.381Km Addis Ababa light rail transit project.
While in yet another project CREEC is constructing the first lot of the 317 Km Addis Ababa-Me’eso railway lines.
The second lot of the 340 Km Me’eso-Dire Dawa-Dawale electric railway project was awarded to another Chinese state owned enterprise China Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC) on December 16, 2011 and has already started construction.
However Chinese companies are not the only ones getting in on the act with a recent interest by Brazilian firm, Andrade Gutierrez S.A, which recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) to help with Ethiopia’s vision of a new network of train transportation, potentially working on the 496 Km Addis Ababa-Ijaji-Jimma-Bedele Railway Project backed by finance from Brazil Banks.
The Ethiopian government plans to construct more than 2,000 Km of rail lines during the five year Growth and Transformation Plan program.