The Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) plans to construct a new railway to connect Ethiopia with Assab, Berbera, and Lamu Ports. Italian governments, African Development Bank (AfDB), and the French governments are among the interested parties investing in these projects.
The corporation will link Ethiopia with other ports with a railway through agreements made with Sudan and Somalia to be a gateway. The route starts at Woldiya and runs through Metema town to the Sudanese port.
The ERC received financial pledges from the Italian government’s agreement to fund the Ethiopian-Eritrean railway project. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the French government will fund the Berbera port & invest USD 1.2 million in a feasibility study (railway project to connect Ethiopia with Port Sudan). In addition, CPCS Transcom, a Canadian Infrastructure Analyst firm, is also conducting the feasibility assessment.
Once the feasibility studies are completed, the project finance will be mobilized from the government or credit institutions. The Ministry of Transport plans to install 4,000 kilometers of railway lines over the coming ten years. The goal is to reduce Ethiopia’s overdependence on Djibouti ports, which handle over 80% of its imports.
Behailu Sintayehu, the deputy CEO for the railway network at the ERC, stated that the railways would link the ports with major economic corridors in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a big economy and cannot depend on one port. Ethiopia is also a massive market for ports. He added that the new cross-border railway lines would link Ethiopia with the red sea, the Gulf of Eden, and the Indian Ocean.