The high speed railway that links Ethiopia’s capital Addis Abba to Djibouti’s port of Djibouti is officially complete. Regular transporting goods and passengers services are expected to begin early this year.
The major infrastructure that crosses across 752 kilometers, estimated to have used 4.2 billion US dollars, was officially launched in Djibouti’s Nagad Railway Station by Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
The railway has cut down travel time for the distance from three days by road to just 12 hours, with passenger trains traveling at the speed of 160 km/h for and 120 km/h for cargo trains. The railway will soon start public transport after successful trial transport services which began in October 2016.
According to Djibouti Ports & Free Zones authority, 90% of Ethiopia’s trade passes through Djibouti, which accounts for 70% of the overall activity at Djibouti’s ports.
Djibouti’s manufacturing industry will experience growth which will in turn provide employment opportunities for the citizens. Djibouti has also invested in a 15 billion dollar expansion programme to improve its port facilities and build new highways and airports in the country.
“This railway marks a new dawn for Africa’s integration into the global economy. From today, millions more Africans are now linked to Djibouti’s world-class port facilities. Connecting Africa, Asia and Europe, Djibouti is at the heart of the world’s trade routes, and we are proud to play a vital role in developing the region and wider continent.” Said Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) according to the statement sent to the newsroom.
The railway was previously inaugurated from Ethiopia’s side on 5 October 2016
There are plans to connect the new railway with a 2000km long track to South Sudan. There are hopes that the railway will turn into a Trans-African railway crossing the African continent from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, a journey which by sea currently takes eight weeks.