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Ethiopia ready to use Eritrean ports

Ethiopia has finished preconditions to begin international logistics operations via ports in Eritrea, Capital learned.
Since PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) came to power the relationship between the two countries, has dramatically changed and citizens of the two nations are interacting closely in a way they have not been able to for the past 20 years.
The Ethiopian government announced that it would re-commence port service via Eritrea when the two countries agreed to a peace deal. The government has already formed a taskforce to speak with Eritrean officials to find ways to utilize Assab. Meanwhile, experts and relevant government officials have visited Assab and Massawa to assess starting the operation.
Sources at Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA) told Capital that Ethiopia has finished preparing to use the ports in Eritrea. “We are waiting for the move from our northern neighbor,” a source at EMAA said.
For the last 20 years Ethiopia has used ports in Djibouti which was a good opportunity for the tiny state to establish new ports and modernize logistics facilities making it more competitive than others in the region.
Now Ethiopia, which is the most populous state without a sea port in the world, has also been looking to develop and own ports jointly in regional countries like Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and Eritrea as well.
According to experts the assessment indicated that the port at Massawa would be an initial alternative to getting imports and exports from Ethiopia, although it is far when compared to the port at Assab or Djibouti.
For logistics in northern Ethiopia via Massawa, which is about 400 km from Mekele, the capital of Tigrai region is good for the country, according to an expert.
Meanwhile EMAA sources have not indicated whether Ethiopia will use Assab in the near future or not. However indications are that Assab, which was the major port hub for Ethiopian until the border conflict erupted in 1998, has been ideal for the past 20 years although some improvements at the facility are needed.
Experts say that Assab is the closest port to Ethiopia at 887km in distance but they note that the road, which is about 60km from port to the border of Ethiopia, on the Eritrean side, may need significant re-construction.
The distance from Djibouti ports to Ethiopia via Galafi is about 925km which is a bit further than Assab but the asphalt road to Djibouti via Dire Dawa will soon open so the distance will become closer than all ports in the region. The distance from Addis Ababa to Djibouti via Dire Dawa would be about 800km.
In addition, because of the new railway network the distance from Djibouti to Addis Ababa is 750km.


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