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Ethiopia, Djibouti take over management of Ethio-Djibouti Railway after six years of commercial operations

Since the launch of commercial operations in 2018, the Ethio-Djibouti Railway has facilitated the transportation of approximately 530,900 passengers and 7,328,500 metric tons of cargo (Photo: Xinhua)

Addis Abeba – Six years after to the commencement of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway’s operations, the Chinese Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) has formally relinquished management responsibilities to the Ethiopian and Djiboutian governments.

This transition of managerial duties was commemorated with a formal ceremony that took place in Addis Abeba yesterday, 10 May, 2024.

CRCC has assumed the management responsibilities since the commencement of operations of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway in 2018.

Spanning a total length exceeding 750 kilometers, this railway originates from Addis Abeba and culminates at the port of Djibouti. It is distinguished as the inaugural electrified railway project in Africa.

The Ethio-Djibouti railway constitutes one among several development initiatives erected under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Envisioned as a comprehensive global infrastructure development strategy, this Initiative was endorsed by the Chinese government in 2013 to facilitate the linkage of Asia with Africa and Europe through land and maritime networks. Its primary objectives include enhancing regional integration, fostering increased trade, and catalyzing economic growth.

The construction of the railway was initiated in 2011 by China Railway Group Limited and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, both of which are state-owned enterprises under the ownership of the Chinese government.

Subsequently, the inaugural freight services along the railway line commenced operations in November 2015. Following this, the trial service on the Ethiopian segment of the railway was inaugurated in October 2016, with the corresponding service on the Djibouti side commencing in January 2018.

The project was undertaken with a total investment amounting to $4 billion.

The construction of the Ethiopian segment of the railway incurred expenses totaling $3.4 billion. This funding structure entailed 70% of the project cost being covered by China Exim Bank, with the remaining 30% financed by the Ethiopian government.

Additionally, the Djibouti government contributed $878 million towards the project.

During the management handover ceremony, Abdi Zenabi, executive director of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway, articulated, “This strategic coastal railway has fundamentally altered the transportation dynamics of goods between our two nations, resulting in diminished transit durations and enriched trade prospects.”

Since the commencement of commercial operations, the railway has facilitated 1,824 passenger train journeys, accommodating nearly 530,900 passengers, and 6,133 cargo train journeys, transporting approximately 7,328,500 metric tons of cargo. AS

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