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The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) will buy two Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vessels with the goal of managing the increase of vehicle imports by using its own vessels.
The two RoRo vessels are part of the four RoRo vessels that were planned to be purchased by the state logistics giant, which is the sole provider of multimodal services.
A source said that the cost of the two vessels would consume USD 40 million each.
According to the plan, the RoRo vessels were expected to be purchased last fiscal year but that was delayed because the Ethiopian government was working on a new plan to partially privatize ESLSE, which is one of the most profitable enterprises run by the government. The former Ethiopian Shipping Lines, which is one of the four enterprises formed by ESLSE eight years ago, has operated Ethiopian flag carriers since 1964. Currently it is the only big African public/ private vessel operator since the South African Safmarine, was sold to the Copenhagen based global logistics operator, Maersk 18 years ago.
According to a source, the procurement of the two vessels should be concluded in the coming few months since the government suspended the deal sell shares of the enterprise to the growing, Chinese logistics firm, China Merchants Group.
Firms in China are building and financing the ships, according to sources.
In the beginning of the five year plan ESLSE planed on buying 15 new vessels including four RoRo vessels but that projection is not expected to come to fruition by the time the GTP sunsets in 2020.
Currently most of vehicles are transported to Djibouti ports by slot carriers, and some vehicles are transported by Ethiopian vessels.
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. In the past five years vehicle imports have grown by about 15 percent per annum.
There were over 70,000 vehicles imported into Ethiopia in last three quarters of the budget year alone,
During the five years of the first GTP, ESLSE bought nine brand new vessels, including two oil tankers which were the first oil carrier ships owned by Ethiopia.
The purchase of the Chinese-made oil and multi-purpose cargo vessels, worth 293.5 million USD, 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 USD each while the two oil tankers cost 37 million USD each.
About nine years prior, the enterprise also bought two multi-purpose vessels from China, ‘Shebelle’ and ‘Gibe,’ named after two 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 11 vessels overall, and the two oil tankers are leased to other shipping companies. ESLSE, was formed in 2011 by the amalgamation of the former Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL), Ethiopian Maritime Transit Services (EMTS), Dry Port Service Enterprise (DPSE), and Comet Transport has become the sole multimodal operator in the country.
ESLSE has targeted to include steel, project equipment, drivable trucks or machines in the new scheme that will incorporate the private actors to work under the state multimodal monopoly. Currently it is moving containers and vehicles below three tons under the multimodal consignment.
The enterprise travels to 307 seaports throughout the world.