Domestic cargo, fertilizer, and food aid shipments to Ethiopia are facing hold-ups due to congestion caused by the massive quantities arriving in Djibouti port and non-availability of trucks.
Currently there are 7 vessels at the anchorage waiting for berth while 3 others are alongside, suffering from lack of trucks. Another batch of four vessels is expected in the coming days, rendering the port to become even more congested, according to the Port of Djibouti.
Djibouti Port management expressed the seriousness of the situation, ie dry bulk vessels’ congestion at the anchorage due to long stay of ships, which are at berth and stated that the main reason of this congestion is the lack of trucks to uplift the direct delivery of bulk cargo.
During a meeting held in Djibouti on February 25, Saad Omar Guelleh General Manager of Djibouti Port said that the transport problems should find sustainable solution. The meeting gathered more than 20 executives both from Ethiopia and Djibouti, involved in the Maritime sectors such as transporters, operators, receivers, and representative of the Ethiopian embassy.
“It is our common concern to find joint solutions to clear the vessels. The Port committee is ready to support all with maximum possibility.
We must avoid demurrage fees for our Ethiopian recipients and the ship owners,” the port said in a statement. “The Port also accepts all alternatives to release the vessels and speed up the operations by using outside warehouses. The Port of Djibouti would like to prevent and avoid the unnecessary cost for our customers,” further reads the statement.
Explaining how serious the situation is, the statement notes ‘the bulk terminal warehouses are full and additional vessels are coming. We remain by protesting to our client that our facility is underutilized. At this moment, we have problem and grain is coming. We require around 300 trucks per day for our all activity that lifts 12,000mt/day. If we get more trucks, it is better.’
The General Manager further said that alongside vessels are suffering and the anchorage is becoming congested. “This situation is becoming difficult and if it continues it will affect the Port’s image. We should work hard and find solution within one week. The Port is ready to give you all necessary support and facilitate to berth the vessels and store the cargo both inside or outside warehouses at your convenience so as to avoid unnecessary costs,” added the general manager.
According to the management, it is very important for the Port of Djibouti to know in advance the planning of the vessel coming by commodity for the next three months minimum, so as to prepare suitable berth. While, the owners of the commodity on their part need to get the transporters ready and available on time, the Port also needs to know which commodities are in priority for Ethiopia be it aid cargo, domestic cargo, fertilizer and wheat or others commodity so as to plan accordingly.
The Port of Djibouti also calls out to the Ethiopian Embassy in Djibouti, Ethiopian Road Authority and Ministry of Transport and all concerned parties to urge transporters and others to serve the vessels appropriately.