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Looks into buying RoRo vessels next

The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), which is responsible for carrying out the transportation of imports/exports and the sole provider of the multimodal service, is now considering buying up to four RoRo vessels  for vehicles’ transportation.
Previously, the enterprise used other shipping lines’ vessels to transport vehicles to and from the port of Djibouti. With the growth in the number of vehicles being imported, ESLSE is now considering purchasing its own RoRo cargo vessels for the first time.
Of the nine new vessels that the enterprise has acquired since November of last year, the first two were oil tankers, while five others are general cargo vessels, and have begun providing service. At the end of last week, ESLSE’s officials including Ahmed Tusa, CEO of ESLSE, Workineh Gebeyehu, the new Minister of Transport who replaced Diriba Kuma, and officials of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) received the seventh vessel, the Jigjiga, at the Port of Djibouti. Officials at the enterprise have also disclosed that the other two vessels will not arrive in Djibouti until October.
Sources at the enterprise told Capital that since the number of vehicles being imported is increasing, ESLSE has decided to manage its own vessels rather than leasing ship space on others vessels.“We have a plan to buy up to four RoRo cargo vessels, but the time frame is not set,” sources said. According to sources, most probably the enterprise will use a loan scheme to buy the RoRo vessels as it has in the past for the purchase of other vessels.
The purchase of the Chinese made oil and multipurpose cargo vessels worth 293.5 million dollars was facilitated by the Export-Import Bank of China, which agreed to finance 80 percent of the cost three years ago.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Tusa told Capital that while the number of imported vehicles is increasing the enterprise is not ready to buy the RoRo vessels in this budget year.
“We will not buy RoRo vessels anytime soon but we are considering the private sector to involve on the transportation of vehicles,” he added.
The seven 28,000 ton heavy lift multi-purpose vessels cost 32.5 million dollars and the two tankers cost 37 million dollars each.
About six years ago the enterprise also bought two multi-purpose vessels from China known as the ‘Shebelle’ and the ‘Gibe’.
Meanwhile, the enterprise sold two of its older vessels, the ‘AbayWonz’ and the ‘Abyot’, to the Metal and Engineering Corporation.
Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as automobiles, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels. This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo.
RoRo vessels have built-in ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port. While smaller ferries that operate across rivers and other short distances often have built-in ramps, the term RoRo is generally reserved for larger ocean going vessels. The ramps and doors may be stern-only, or bow and stern for quick loading.
The state monopoly is working to expand its capacity to manage at least half of the total cargo that is transported in and out of the country.
The flag carrier has also planned to expand the country’s cargo transportation coverage by up to 50 percent, from the current 20 percent, as the number of vessels increases.
In the past few years the amount of cargo that Ethiopia imports and exports has grown sharply and to accelerate the shipping activity the government has merged three state enterprises engaged in shipping services.   
After the amalgamation of the former Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL), Ethiopian Maritime Transit Services (EMTS), and Dry Port Service Enterprise (DPSE) ESLSE formed in 2011, the enterprise has become the sole multimodal operator in the country. It has also included the transport of vehicles under the multimodal scheme, which is handling the transportation on sea and land from one port into the country.