Ethio-Djibouti Railway to Double Freight, Passenger Train Services

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Addis Ababa ENA July 23/2019 With the fast growing demand for its multipurpose services, The Ethio-Djibouti Railway Corporation is planning to double its freight and passenger service trips.

In an Exclusive interview with ENA, EDR Director-General, Engineer Tilahun Sarka said the railway is registering remarkable achievements both with the freighter and commuter services and will continuously scale it up.

He added that reducing the travel time both with the freighter and passenger trains is considered as an outstanding achievement of the country.

Ethio-Djibouti Railway targets to achieve Ethiopia’s 85 percent freighter facility, Engineer Tilahun stated, adding 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 under current practice,” the Director-General pointed out.

He noted that the two freight train transports 212 containers in one trip only within 11 hours. The same amount was being transported using about 100 trucks and arriving in three days.

Mentioning statistics show that Ethiopia imports about 13 million tons of commodities through Djibouti, Tilahun stressed “this is of paramount importance and huge capacity building to the nation.”

Speaking of the passenger train, he said that EDR has transported about 150,000 commuters in 2018 and attained 700 million birr while planning to double it.

“We never consider it as another country when the train travels to Djibouti. Therefore, this can be taken as exemplary for the socio-economic and political relationships of both country,” Tilahun noted.

Djiboutian commuters appreciated the services rendered by Ethio-Djibouti Railway Corporation that commenced its standard gauge electrified railway operation back in January 1, 2018.

Haren Mohammed, who was traveling from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, lauded the train’s time efficiency helping him reach home sooner than what took him before.

“We think that the relationship between Ethiopia and Djiboutian is so good that the train is fast and I want to say thank you for this thing. Of course we are traveling with this train ….. We did not face any problems and it is safe of course,” he elaborated.

According to him, the train is providing a good opportunity in transporting commercial commodities in a faster time frame.

Another passenger who used the train to Djibouti for the third time, Moussa Abdi Hussein, said that the train is quite important as it provides good and relaxed accommodation while on journey.

“This train is a good chance for the peoples of the two nations to meet every now and then with in a cost effective way,” Moussa added.

Furthermore, he pointed out that he prefers traveling by the EDR train than by plane or bus because it feels safe in terms of security and with comfortable accommodations.

The Ethio-Djibouti Railway, which reduce traveling time between Addis Ababa and the capital Djibouti from three days to 12 hours, was built with an outlay of 4.2 billion USD.