Ethio-Djibouti Railway Corporation (EDR) has announced it is planning to double its freight and passenger service trips to match up the fast-growing demand on its Ethiopia-Djibouti route.
Tilahun Sarka (Engineer), EDR Director-General, speaking to ENA, said the railway is registering remarkable achievements both with the freighter and commuter services and will continue scaling it up. Mr. Tilahun also noted as “outstanding achievement” for Ethiopia the reduction of travel time both freighter and passenger trains.
Ethio-Djibouti Railway targets to achieve Ethiopia’s 85 percent freighter facility, the Director-General said, noting that “most of all transporting commodities on time and avoiding demurrage has paid off.”
“We are working to transport 40 to 50 percent of what is now being transported by trucks. That means we will have four freight train trips daily from Addis Ababa to Djibouti instead of two trips [as in] under [the] current practice,” he added. While it took 100 trucks three days to transport 212 containers, these can now be handled in one 11-hour trip with the two freight trains. This, Mr. Tilahun noted, “is of paramount importance” since Ethiopia imports about 13 million tons of commodities [each year] via Djibouti.
The passenger train, according to the Director-General of the EDR, has transported some 150,000 passengers in 2018, collecting some 700 million birr. Still, the plan is to see this figure doubled.
The train commutes, Mr. Tilahun remarks, can also be seen as “exemplary for the socio-economic and political” ties between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Citizens of Djibouti, too, are appreciative of the services of the electric railway which commenced on January 1, 2018.
Built with an outlay of $4.2 billion, the Ethio-Djibouti Railway has reduced the travel time between Addis Ababa and Djibouti from three days to just 12 hours, or less.