The port will have a capacity of handling 6,666 containers at a time

Mar 9 , 2019

A new dry port financed by the government is going to be built in Werota town, north Gonder, in Amhara Regional State at a cost of 90 million Br.

For the construction of the port, the Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Service Enterprise secured 20ha of land from Amhara Regional State. The Enterprise has also awarded the Amhara Road Works Enterprise a contract to construct the port with the construction supervision being conducted by the Enterprise's engineering department.

The town was selected with the main aim of facilitating trade with Sudan, according to Asheber Nota, communications director at the Enterprise, which operates 11 shipping vessels, nine of which are dry cargo ships with a total carrying capacity of 400,000tn, and the other two are oil tankers capable of transporting 42,000tn of oil each.

"It will expedite the western corridor for import-export transactions," Asheber told Fortune.

Set to be completed in three years, the port will have a capacity of accommodating 6,666 containers at once and is going to be constructed in two phases. The port will have terminal offices, a customs transit and warehouses. The Enterprise, established eight years ago after the merger of Ethiopian Shipping Lines, Maritime & Transit Services Enterprise and Dry Port Enterprise, will fully cover the cost of the port.

The Enterprise shipped 4.5 million tonnes of cargo in and out of the country during the 2016/17 fiscal year, generating over 23.6 billion Br.

The first phase, with a capacity of holding 1,000 containers, is expected to begin next week and take half a year to complete, at which time the port is expected to be operational, according to Asheber.

"Construction of phase two will continue, while phase one is providing services," Asheber told Fortune.

Amhara Road Works Enterprise secured the project after vying with two companies, Amhara Water Works Construction Enterprise and Amhara Region Urban Development Construction S.C.

Werota will be the nation's eighth dry port along with Modjo, Qality, Gelan, Semera, Dire Dawa, Kombolcha and Meqelle dry ports. The seven ports have an aggregate capacity of hosting 24,000 containers at a time and handle over 90pc of the country's trade. Modjo Dry Port, established a decade ago, hosts 78pc of the country’s shipping and logistics services.

Though the project is late, it will play a significant role in easing the current logistics hassle, according to Salahadin Kelifa, president of Ethiopian Freight Forwarding & Shipping Agents Association.

The World Bank's latest logistics performance index ranks Ethiopia 117 out of 190-plus countries for the efficiency of its logistics operations.

"It will help nearby industrial parks to export and import their products easily,” Selahadin told Fortune.

There are four industrial parks located near the port - Meqelle, Kombolcha, Debre Berhan and Bahir Dar.

Businesses operating in the area are also delighted with the construction of the port. Emu General Importer Plc, an importer of diesel generators, water pumping sets, construction equipment and spare parts since 1997, is one of them.

"It will cut our transport time and expense, as well as help us to deliver efficient service to our customers,” said Tamen Dendena, general manager of Emu's Bahir Dar branch.

Busha Teshome (Ass. Prof.), a lecturer at the School of Commerce Department of Procurement & Supply Chain Management, also commends the construction of the port, citing its role in easing the burden of Modjo Dry Port.

Busha also recommends that the government give equal focus to equipping the ports properly and meeting modern standards.

“The government needs to give equal weight to adequately equipping the facilities with manpower and technology,” Busha commented.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 09,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 984]

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