Commercial operations on the 756-km electrified line connecting landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti on the east of the continent has officially began.
More than 95% of Ethiopia’s trade passes through Djibouti, accounting for 70% of the activity at the Port of Djibouti. This new line replaces a French built one that served the nations for over 100 years before being abandoned in the early 2000s. It provides landlocked Ethiopia with access to the sea, linking Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa with Djibouti and its Port of Doraleh.
Contracted by two Chinese companies, the first 320 km of the rail project from Sebeta to Mieso was carried out by the China Rail Engineering Corporation (CREC), while the remaining 436 km from Mieso to Djibouti port section was built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
“It is the first trans-boundary and longest electrified railway on the African continent (…) It is regarded by many as a lifeline project for both countries, for Ethiopia and for Djibouti. And we see this as a railway of development; as a railway of cooperation; and as a railway of friendship,” (Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia).
The standard gauge railway provides both passenger and freight services between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. Thus railway required an investment of 4 billion U.S. dollars, which was funded by Chineese bank Exim Bank.
We hope the project will contribute to the industrialization and diversification of the Ethiopian economy, and also towards the country’s growth and transformation plan.