The construction launch of the third port of Djibouti, Port of Tadjoura was officially marked in the past week in the presence of government heads of Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Port of Tadjoura scheduled to be completed within 33 months will be another option for Ethiopia and the newly born country, South Sudan, for their import and export activities. Currently, Ethiopia is mainly using Port of Djibouti and Dorhaleh container terminal for its import/export activities.
This new Tadjoura port will be connected to Ethiopia by road from Tadjoura to Balho and by railway with the Ethiopian town of Mekele, where feasibility study on the railway is being conducted at the moment.
Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, noted on the ceremony held on Wednesday December 12 that the city of Tadjoura was once a port city and it has played an important role in trade between the Arabian Peninsula and Ethiopia. In that time, shipping was done in sailing and land transportation was provided by caravans.
“Today we are launching the work of modern port facilities with the most advanced and most expensive facilities,” said the president.
Hailemariam Desalegn Prime Minister of Ethiopia attended the event in his first visit to Djibouti since his appointment as head of the government.
PM Hailemariam said that he was particularly proud and happy to participate with President Ismail Omar Guelleh on the official launch of the construction of the future port of Tadjoura.
He commended the outstanding work done by the Chief of State of Djibouti for thirteen years for the Djibouto-Ethiopian economic integration giving his country and his people the key to progress and development.
He recalled that this project was part of a series of other projects born from the desire of two men, President Guelleh and the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi.
“Today, Meles is not with us to start work on a project that was dear to him,” said Hailemariam paying tribute to his predecessor.
The works for the new Port of Tadjoura to be built in the Tadjoura Gulf at about 1 km west from the town of Tadjoura, developed along 700m of the Eastern Walwallè wadi outlet, will consist of a quay of about 435 m length made by circular cell structure, a typical Ro-Ro terminal about 190 m length, made by 4 mono-pile breasting dolphins connected by 4 catwalks extended between each breasting dolphin, each made by tubular welded truss of about 45 m length, and two containing rubble-mound jetties, and an embankment of 30 hectares that will have an annual capacity of eight million tons,” said Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the Ports Authority and Free Zones (PAFZ) during the laying of the cornerstone.
Aboubaker also said that the project will create 600 jobs during the construction phase, 300 permanent jobs in the operation phase, about 700 jobs dockers and 2,000 indirect jobs, which will further ensure the economic and social development of the region.
President Guelleh indicated that this project was in line with the development policy of the two countries, a policy which he said “pulls the resources and potential of each of our two countries through the successful integration of our economies and our territories.”
“The port of Tadjoura in this sense has a dual purpose: on the one hand, that of building a new economic anchor for Djibouti and secondly that of creating a new branch to the Djibouti-Ethiopia axis which aims to be the engine of growth in our sub-region,” said President Guelleh.
For him, the diversification and multiplication of sources of economic growth necessarily involves the development of regions which through their respective potentials, “will garner significant impact.”
The project is expected to consume 61 million dollar which is going to be covered by a loan from Kuwait based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (36 million dollar) and Saudi Fund for Development (25 million dollar).
Tadjoura is the closest outlet for Ethiopia’s Afar region, where a number of foreign firms, including Canada’s Allana Potash Corp, are developing potash mines. The port will have high benefit for the mining companies to export their product. It is also relatively close for eastern Amhara and Tigrai regional states, which are becoming major industrial hubs in the country.