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A delegation from the Port of Djibouti SA including Djama Ibrahim Darar, Commercial Director, Jiang Luning Chief representative of CMHI in Djibouti, Hunter Chief Operation Officer, Houmed Mohamed Kamil, Finance Manager and Hassan Abdillahi Djibouti Port representative in Addis Ababa met last week with Ethiopian government officials, international organizations and private companies with the goal of establishing new port facilities and to make importing products into Ethiopia easier.
The group of delegates also talked about improving logistics in Ethiopia and port services as well as related economic activities that could be mutually beneficial for the two nations’ development.
The delegates who were in Addis from October 24 to November 1, have met with officials at the Ministry of Trade, Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority and Leather Industry Development Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate of Livestock Development and discussed about the port activities, logistics and the new port expansion being undertaken by Djibouti.
The delegation leader, Djama Ibrahim told Capital that they have been in discussions with major Ethiopian development organizations, which are considered to be major users of port services and has also met with Guang Zhe Chen, the World Bank Country Director to Ethiopia.
“We met top officials at the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise, Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise, Sugar Corporation, and Grain Trade Enterprise,” Djama said.
The delegation, which concluded its visit on November 1, included four members from the Port of Djibouti, China Merchant Holding International (CMHI) and Maritime Affairs.
Members of the delegation also included logistics companies like Maersk and Chinese contractors in Ethiopia.
It is recalled that CMHI bought a 23.5 percent share at the Port of Djibouti in January 2013 at the cost of USD 183 million.
“We are here together with our partners to make the logistics process better and more efficient this is the major reason for our presence,” Djama said.
“We want to contribute in some way to improving the efficiency of logistics while at the same time making it more economical, this in turn will positively influence development,” Jiang Luning, who represents CMHI, told Capital.
“We have been studying the best way to provide a win-win solution for our new port projects,” he said.
“We are currently undertaking a feasibility study with regards to the new port project, Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP),” said the CMHI representative.
The DMP project, which is expected to double the port’s capacity, should be open for service by the end of 2016.
“The delegation visited the country with the goal of exploring how the new Multipurpose Port will be more beneficial for Ethiopia,” officials at Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority told Capital.
“It will be a good opportunity for the country because the new port will be established considering the needs of Ethiopia,” the authority officials added.
Experts said that they have also talked about the country’s future plans with regard to import/export activities.
Sources said that Ethiopian officials have also given some recommendations that should accelerate the movement of cargo if they are implemented by port operators.
Delegate members also said that they are taking Ethiopia’s needs into account in planning the port expansion. “We will go with the interest of our partners to expand the sector’s activity,” members of the delegation said.
“We are satisfied by the visit because it is crucial for the two countries’ economic growth,” a member of the delegation said.
Djibouti is currently undertaking several expansion and new port projects that is expected to make the country one of the major port destinations in the continent and the first in the region.
A year ago Djibouti launched the construction of new port facility at a cost of USD 650 million at Doraleh and on the southeast coast.
The country which is the main gateway to Ethiopia is also constructing another new port at Tadjoura.
Damerjog Livestock Port on the southeast coast and the construction of the new multi-port at Doraleh are intended to relieve the strain on existing infrastructure and accelerate the economic development of the region.
DMP will be equipped with modern equipment, and will accommodate 100,000 dwt vessels. This is supported by the fact that the geographical location of Doraleh Multipurpose Port provides a naturally deep and sheltered harbor that will require minimal dredging and will be another option for Ethiopia and the newly born country, South Sudan, for their import and export activities
With a quay length of 1200 meters and 5 berths at -16 meters on the first phase, -the DMP will serve any conventional cargo and related services. It will be linked to a road and rail transport in order to develop an integrated transport and economic corridor.
In response to the growing demand of a dedicated terminal for the shipment of livestock, the port of Damerjog will further enhance the position of Djibouti as a platform as an export hub to Middle East livestock growing demand and it will constitute the first specialized livestock port that includes a quay of 655 meters long with handling capacity of 10 million heads of livestock.
According to Saad Guelleh, General Manager Port of Djibouti SA, the construction of the two ports is also being funded by China Merchants Group, which is part of China Merchants Holdings International.
In December 2012 the country launched the construction of the third port of Djibouti, the Port of Tadjoura in the presence of government heads of Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Saad said that the Port of Tadjoura is scheduled to be completed within 33 months. This new Tadjoura port will be connected to Ethiopia by road from Tadjoura to Balho and by railway with the Ethiopian town of Mekele, in the future.
The new Port of Tadjoura is to be built in the Tadjoura Gulf about 1 km west of the town of Tadjoura, developed along 700m of the Eastern Walwallè wadi outlet, and will consist of a quay of about 435 m in length made by a circular cell structure, a typical Ro-Ro terminal about 190 m length and an embankment of 30 hectares that will have an annual capacity of eight million tons.
The project is expected to consume USD 61 million, which is going to be covered by a USD 36 million loan from the Kuwait based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and a USD 25 million loan from the Saudi Fund for Development, according to him.
The General Manager also said that Tadjoura is the closest outlet for Ethiopia’s Afar region, where a number of foreign firms, including Canada’s Allana Potash Corp and the Norwegian Yara, are developing potash mines. The port will benefit the mining companies in exporting their products. It is also relatively close to eastern Amhara and Tigrai regional states, which are becoming major industrial hubs in the country.
Currently, Ethiopia is mainly using the Port of Djibouti and the Doraleh container terminal to import and export products.