Ethiopia-Djibouti: Electric Railway Line Opens

The 750-km railway line links Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port of Djibouti.

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Relations between Ethiopia and Djibouti on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 reached a higher level with the launching of the first fully electrified cross-border railway line that links Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port of Djibouti.Copier

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Travelling at 120km/h, the new service cuts the journey time down from three days by road to about 12 hours, BBC reported. The 3.4 billion U.S. Dollars project was built with the help of funding from a Chinese bank and will have Chinese staff.

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the rail line would be a boost to the economy. "It will provide huge benefits to the industrial parks and modern farms that will be built in the future, BBC quoted him as saying. Getachew Betru, Chief Executive     Officer of Ethiopia Railways talking on the economic importance of the railway line is quoted as saying,  "In Ethiopia currently if you want to bring your container from Hong Kong to Djibouti it will take you maybe two, three weeks. But it will take you more than that to take it from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. It will now take us one day or more."

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Reports say the passenger trains which will run each way daily, are to start in three months' time and ticket prices will be announced nearer the time. The track runs parallel to the abandoned Ethio-Djibouti railway, built more than 100 years ago.

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From every indication, Djibouti is important to landlocked Ethiopia which currently imports and exports nearly 90 per cent of its goods through its port.  The railway is said to be the first step in a vast 5,000km-long network of rail which Ethiopia hopes to build by 2020, connecting it to Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.

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