Purchase of RoRo vessels in the pipeline

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The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) announced plans to purchase Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vessels in the second Growth and Transformation Plan’s (GTP II) five year period.

Over the past few years, the state logistics enterprise, sole provider of multimodal services, has been considering purchase of its own RoRo vessels to transport imported vehicles.
Currently, the enterprise imports vehicles using Ro-Ro vessels of an alliance of shipping lines, but is considering the purchase given constant growth of  vehicle imports.
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 wheels. Such vessels are the opposite of the Lift-on/Lift-off (LoLo) vessels, which use cranes to load and unload cargo.
Chief Alemu Ambaye, ESLSE Shipping Sector Deputy CEO, told Capital that the enterprise has incorporated the purchase proposal of RoRo vessels in its five years’ strategic plan.
The shipping enterprise aims to buy four RoRo vessels, but did not specify how many of them would be purchased over the five years period. Sources in the enterprise told Capital  that the enterprise is doing a purchase assessment  which will be finalized before the end of the current year. The study will determine the number of RoRo vessels to be acquired. 
Abelneh Agedew, Public Relation Head of the Federal Transport Authority, told Capital that in the past five years vehicle imports have grown by 15 percent per annum.
The number of imported vehicles was over 50,000 in last year alone, according to Abelneh. Along with the public’s vehicle purchases, ESLSE’s need for more vehicles has also grown. During the five years of the first GTP, ESLSE bought nine brand new vessels, including two oil tankers the first oil carrier ships owned by Ethiopia.    
The purchase of the Chinese-made oil and multi-purpose cargo vessels, worth 293.5 million dollars, was facilitated by the Export-Import Bank of China, which agreed to lend  80 percent of the cost.
The seven 28,000 ton duty multi-purpose vessels cost 32.5 million dollars each while the two oil tankers cost 37 million dollars each.
About eight years prior, the enterprise also bought two multi-purpose vessels from China, ‘Shebelle’ and  ‘Gibe,’ named after two important rivers in Ethiopia.  Meanwhile, the enterprise sold off two of its older vessels, ‘Abay Wonz’ and ‘Abyot,’ to the Metals and Engineering Corporation.
Currently ESLSE has 13 vessels overall, including two oil tankers, which are leased for other shipping companies. The RoRo vessels will be purchased on a credit scheme, according to sources.
RoRo vessels have built-in ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel at  port. While smaller ferries that operate across rivers and other short distances often have built-in ramps, the term RoRo is generally reserved for large liners that can cross oceans. Their ramps and doors may be stern-only, or bow and stern for quick loading.
ESLSE, formed in 2011 with the amalgamation of the former Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL), Ethiopian Maritime Transit Services (EMTS), and Dry Port Service Enterprise (DPSE), has become the sole multimodal operator in the country.