ADDIS ABABA--Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) announced that it will step up efforts to connect the nations through modern railway infrastructure.
Public Relations Directorate Director with the Corporation, Dereje Tefera told The Ethiopian Herald that Ethiopia has been aggressively striving to construct 5,000 km modern railway network which is capable to link all corners of the country.
"Ethiopia has achieved tremendous infrastructural development over the last two decades. The 656 km Ethio-Djibouti railway and the 34 km Addis Ababa light rail are among the railway projects being completed successfully. However, more tasks are remaining to be undertaken to leapfrog the railway coverage to higher level," he said.
Dereje added that 391 km long rail line from Awash to Weldiya/Hara Gebeya and 216km rail line from Weldiya/Hara Gebeya-Mekelle are currently under construction by Turkish company Yapi Merkezi and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) respectively.
Ethiopia has invested 3.4 billion USD for Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and 475 million USD for Addis Ababa light railway, according to him.
" Since its inauguration in January 2018, the Ethio-Djibouti railway which stretches from Sebeta, Oromia State to Negad in Djibouti via Mieso-Dewale-Ali Sabieh is facilitating the trade activities of the country. The rail line has a capacity of transporting 3,500 tons of goods in one trip."
Besides, it will provide transport service for 3,000 passengers per day, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Corporation has asked Addis Ababa City Administration to allocate 1.5 billion Birr subsidy for Addis Ababa light rail.
Dereje stated that taking the living standard of the city dwellers into consideration; the corporation is providing service with meager fee and as a result it could not afford expenses for electricity, spare parts and other administration works.
"Our corporation spends 1.5 billion Birr for its 1,600 employees as salary. In addition to this, it covers other expenses. Having understood this, the city administration should allocate budget. Unless it would be difficult undertake activities properly," he pointed out.
The Director indicated that Addis Ababa light railway is providing transport service for 140,000 people per day and the corporation has huge plan to scale up it.
The corporation has planned to construct and complete other rail lines and experience, knowledge and technology transfer has been gained so far, it was learnt.