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The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) almost attained its target goals in the first three quarters of the budget year but reduced imports have affected its business.
In the first nine months ESLSE earned over 10 billion birr. The sole multimodal operator in the country handled 98 percent of the logistics it anticipated.
Mesfin Tefera, Acting CEO of ESLSE, told media that the enterprise was able to handle almost all of its targets during the stated period. He added that the enterprise would achieve more if imports remained the same as last year.
Because hard currency has been scarce the country’simports have declined in the past few months.
“Recently, the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia introduced a wide letter of credit (LC) approval that will increase the import cargo,” experts said.
The acting CEO also expressed his expectation that because of the LC approval import cargo would increase in the fourth quarter of the year.
In nine months the enterprise’s revenue was over 10.6billion birr. In the 2015/16 budget year the enterprise amassed over 15.1 billion birr, according to a report presented at the ESLSE Global Annual Agency Meeting held April 26-27 at Hilton Addis.
In the first nine months of the 2016/17 budget year ESLSE handled close to three million tons of cargo, in a similar period last year that figure was five million tons.
In terms of containerized cargo, the public enterprise has transported 120,000 twenty feet containers (TEU). In the preceding full budget year, the enterprise transported close to 180,000 TEU.
The enterprise report also stated 13,000 RoRo (vehicle) cargo units were handled in the stated period of the budget year.
Most of the shipments were handled though multimodal schemes.
Close to 200,000 tons of cargo wereexported by ESLSE in the first nine months of the budget year.
According to Mesfin, one of the major things that the cargo mover achieved in the budget year is reducing the time that cargo is stored at the ports at Djibouti.
“In the current budget year the average dwelling time in Djibouti was reduced to 7.24 days, which was 9.5 days a year ago,” he added.
Since its formation ESLSE handles the shipping lines, one of the oldest enterprises in the country. The shipping service is the only shipping firm for the continent owned by Africans.
The shipping service commenced its operation in 1964 and it has now 11 vessels and nine of them were purchased recently.
Two of the recently acquired vessels called Bahir Dar and Hawassa are oil tankers, leased to other shipping operators. They transport Ethiopian oil cargo, according to a deal between the owner and operator.
The enterprise also has seven dry ports in deferent parts of the country including the biggest container port at Mojo and RoRo dry ports at Gelan, which is at the outskirts of Addis.
In the coming year two more dry ports will be available for cargo handling at Woreta and Hawassa. In addition five inland dry ports will be established in the third five year plan.
The global agency meeting is held annually with ESLSE agents who represent it in 40 countries. Every three years the meeting, which evaluates the operation of their activity, is organized in Ethiopia.
The enterprise is working on 307 sea ports throughout the world.
Mesfin said that selected participants visited the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to demonstrate how their logistical support is helping get needed materials for development to Ethiopia.
“The shipping activity is led by trade so we are focusing on the Asian market,” he said. A few years ago Ethiopian ships cut operations to the West although they still ship to Turkey, the major hub for steel import in Ethiopia.
“We use slot carriers to move cargo from other part of the world,” Mesfin added.
“We are following the trade activity of Ethiopia. For instance we have added agents from Brazil, Croatia, Israel and Morocco since Moroccan investors agreed to invest in a fertilizer factory in Dire Dawa, and we are also looking at an agent from North America,” the acting CEO said.
The flag carrier is the only shipping line that operates on the continent. It plans to expand to other African countries.
“We have the plans to handle cargo for the continent like the Ethiopian Airlines but right now there is not enough cargo to make the operation profitable,” Mesfin said.
Currently the worldwide price of shipments has declined and cargo business has slowedg