Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Dry Port Enterprise Getting Ports in Mekelle, Dire Dawa

The Dry Port Service Enterprise (DPSE) is setting up two dry ports, in Mekelle and Dire Dawa, to ease congestion at the Modjo Dry Port.

The plots, 42ha in Mekelle and 27ha in Dire Dawa, were availed two months ago. The Enterprise confirmed that they would be suitable for dry ports in a letter to the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA), on April 17, 2013.

The land in Mekelle, located in Kuya District, on the outskirts of the town, is the third plot offered. The first one was taken back by the Administration because it was needed for other "investment purposes".

The second one was turned down by theEnterprise, because it was too rocky and "unsuitable for dry port construction", according to Abebe Gudissa, port and facility development director at the DPSE.

The land in Dire Dawa town was selected from two options offered by the Administration, the town's mayor, Assed Ryad, said.

"Construction at the two ports could begin in the early part of the 2013/14 fiscal year," says a middle level official at the Authority.

"We will invite international contractors to compete for the construction, after finalising the study on the design and the capacity the ports will have," he added.

The Authority researched 15 areas, including Dire Dawa and Mekelle, in six regions, with the intention of establishing permanent dry ports at all of them. This project is also part of the GTP plan, which vies to have 35 dry ports by the end of the 2014\15 fiscal year.

The Enterprise currently uses theModjoDryPortintensively; with its close proximity to Addis Abeba, and its 6,000 container capacity, ideal for distributing imports to the capital. Another dry port available to theEnterpriseis Semera, with a 1,752 container capacity. It is not the destination of choice, however, as not many containers are shipped to that part of the country.

TheGelanDryPort, which is 96pc complete and has a 3,000 container capacity, is yet to be operational.

Established on 63ha of land, 37Km east ofAddis Ababa, theModjoDryPortis undergoing a eight-hectare expansion, with a budget of 617 millionBr.The expansion includes a eight-hectare cargo terminal, parking for heavy trucks and internal roads.

There are close to 300 containers being imported each day into the country, which the existing permanent and satellite ports cannot accommodate. Importers do not pick up their container deliveries on time, causing congestion, according to Dessalegn Gebre-Hiwot, deputy CEO of Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics ServicesEnterprise(ESLSE).

There were 5,600 twenty feet equivalent unit (teu) containers piled up atModjoDryPortby the end of March 2013. Although, 120 teu containers come to the port daily, importers only pick up 66 pc on time.

"TheEnterprisepicked Mekelle and Dire Dawa because they are industrial areas with growing cargo flow," Desalegn said. "TheDireDawaDryPortwill help with containers that head to the south of the country, while the Mekelle one will address northern towns."

"We also plan to transport containers to the two dry ports using railways in the future," added Abebe. "Construction is underway along both corridors."

The Dry Port Service Enterprise is already using rented spaces in the two towns: a 3,000sqm plot, rented from the Ethio - Djibouti Railway Enterprise, for 30,000Br and a 1,500sqm old bus station, rented from the Mekelle Administration for 12,000Br a month.

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