The Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway on Thursday started vehicle shipment from ports in Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
The first vehicle shipment arrived at the Indode Freight Station on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.
A special ceremony was held at the station to mark the arrival of the first shipment.
Abdi Zenebe, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Share Company (EDR), lauded the move, emphasizing that it will help realize the major aspirations of the railway in terms of facilitating Ethiopia's transportation system.
Noting the huge movement of imported commodities from ports in Djibouti to central Ethiopia and exported items from Ethiopia to the rest of the world via ports in Djibouti, Zenebe said the very first shipment of cars from Djibouti to Ethiopia signifies EDR's commitment to diversify its transportation services.
"This is an indication that we are diversifying our business. We have multiple varieties of wagons, which includes hoppers, we have refrigerator wagons, we have a large number of wagons that we have not yet utilized," Zenebe said. "This is one way of indicating and communicating to the world and to our customers that we have started to use these (railway) wagons, and this diversification and expansion of businesses will guarantee EDR's progress in the future and will expand EDR's service to the two countries and customers involved."
The 752.7-km Ethiopia-Djibouti standard gauge railway, also known as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, contracted by China Rail Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is the first trans-boundary railway on the African continent.
As the Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified railway significantly improves the freight market, EDR said the railway is enriching its services toward realizing the two countries' ambition of building an industrial and economic belt driving the economic and social development of the two countries.
Abdurahman Ibrahim, general manager of Nana Solutions, the company that partnered with EDR to import the first batch of 24 vehicles via the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, said the railway offers various advantages to companies engaged in import and export sectors.
"We are very lucky to be the pioneers in this very good initiative. It offers various opportunities to us, including safety as using railway wagons is highly secured and safe until its final destination," Ibrahim told Xinhua. "It is also very cost-wise as it reduces the cost by almost half as compared with car-carrier trucks. Its swift delivery is also another great advantage."
Produced by Xinhua Global Service