Built by China between 2013 and 2016, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is gradually becoming the backbone of Ethiopia's supply chain.
Between January and November 2023, the rail lines between Ethiopia and Djibouti recorded a 40% increase in the flow of goods compared with the same period last year, with a total volume of more than 2 million tonnes of freight, according to statistics from the rail authority.
This figure represents a traffic record for Ethio-Djibouti for the sharing of railways which reported at the beginning of 2022 that cumulative traffic over the 3 years following its start-up in 2018 had only reached 3.45 million tonnes. According to Abdi Zenebe, EDR's CEO, this performance is due to several factors, in particular the improvement in the level of service.
"We have succeeded in reducing the misuse of electrical resources and the destruction of these installations by 85%. This has made it possible to resolve certain power outages and now provide continuous and more appropriate services", he explained, also announcing major prospects for the coming years, including work to increase the network's capacity.
"Rail transport currently plays a central role in strengthening regional connectivity and stabilising the country's economy. This is reflected in the increasing demand on the network. Preparations are therefore underway to increase the capacity of the rail service from 2 million to 4 million tonnes," he said.
Built jointly by China Railway Group Limited (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at a total cost of USD 3.4 billion, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway network is an essential supply channel for Ethiopia, a landlocked country that relies on the Djibouti port of Doraleh for supplies and sales to the rest of the world.
These lines carry a variety of cargoes to Ethiopia, including perishable goods, vehicles, cereals, fertilisers and more.