After six years of managing the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line, the Chinese contractor’s operations service contract is to an end this year.
The deputy general manager of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) and China Railway Group Limited (CREC) joint venture project office, Yang Anwei, confirmed that its contract is to end.
According to Anwei, over the past six years of operation, cargo revenue on the line has increased by more than 35% every year.
The revenue in the first half of 2023 alone has increased by 76% compared to the same period last year.
The Ethio-Djibouti railway, as it is commonly referred to, is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a flagship infrastructure project aimed at revolutionising trans-continental logistics.
The initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
Ethio-Djibouti railway, one of several development projects of the BRI, commenced operations in January 2018.
With a total length of 756 kilometres, the electrified railway starts from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and ends at the port of Djibouti.
Anwei said the railway is playing a significant role in developing the countries by increasing transport revenues, enhancing import and export trade as well as providing passenger transport services.
This all served to improve economic and people integration.
“The railway has been providing crucial benefits to Ethiopia as it is transporting its import and export goods from and to Djibouti port in addition to passengers,” he added.
He pointed out that the number of Ethiopia's export containers has been increasing every year over the past six years.
He pointed out that refrigerated facilities along the line are essential for trade in meat, vegetables and coffee and will be instrumental for the future growth of cargo on the Ethio-Djibouti railway.
Two dry ports have been established alongside the railway, with an expansion project underway at present at the one at Dire Dawa.
The railway is also vital to stimulating the activities and further development of the Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone,
China Railway No.2 Engineering Group (CREGC), a subsidiary of China Railway Group Limited (CREC), will continue to give technical support for the railway, although it is expected that Ethiopian interests will take over other functions when the Chinese exit.
The Belt and Road Initiative’s 10th anniversary summit will be held in China during the second half of October, 2023, to discuss the achievements of the initiative and determine future areas of cooperation.